Image of chickens.

The government is introducing stringent measures in response to the country’s largest ever outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu).

Mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds will come into force from Monday 7 November, following a decision by the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer.

These measures legally require all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the disease, regardless of type or size.

For Warrington residents, this means that anyone who keeps birds - whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks, or just a few birds in a backyard flock - is required by law to ensure they are familiar with, and adhere to, a number of measures designed to limit the spread of the disease.

Biosecurity guidance and a self-assessment checklist have been published by Defra to assist all bird keepers, which - together with further updates on the latest bird flu situation - can be found via GOV.UK/bird-flu

Over the last year, the UK has faced its largest ever outbreak of bird flu, with over 200 cases confirmed since late October 2021. The introduction of the housing measures follows the detection of the disease at over 70 premises since the beginning of October, as well as multiple reports in wild birds.

If you require any further specific advice that you cannot find on the DEFRA website, please email

16 August 2023