Avian influenza (bird flu) outbreaks

Free range hens
Sophie law

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ)

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across the whole of the UK from 12pm on 17 October 2022. 

This means strict biosecurity measures for all bird keepers (including those who keep pet birds) to help prevent the spread of avian influenza from wild birds or any other source. All poultry gatherings are banned.

The AIPZ does not currently include a requirement to house birds in Scotland. However, this is being kept under constant review. You should always check as different arrangements may apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The grace period for free range egg production only applies where restriction of access to open-air runs is required – i.e. under a housing order. If a producer chooses to house voluntarily, the eggs don’t meet the free-range requirements and packs must be marked as “barn eggs”.

Cases and disease control zones

Check where disease control zones are currently located and if you are in a zone on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) interactive map.

Dead bird and other wild mammal findings

Wild birds

Avian Influenza surveillance systems are in place for the reporting and monitoring of dead wild birds and certain mammalian species suspected of having been infected with avian influenza.

How to report dead wild birds.

Other wild mammal findings

If you find a dead wild mammal, suspected of having been infected with avian influenza, note where you saw the dead animal and contact your local area NatureScot Office.

As with dead wild birds, if you find a dead animal of any species, please don’t pick it up. Carcasses may present health risks and are best left alone.

Bird keepers - what you should do

Good biosecurity

Good biosecurity improves the overall health and productivity of your flock by helping keep out poultry diseases and limiting the spread of disease during an outbreak.

If you keep poultry (including game birds or as pets), you should also:

Keepers with over 500 birds

Keepers with more than 500 birds need to:

  • restrict access for non-essential personnel on their sites
  • ensure workers change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures
  • clean and disinfect site vehicles regularly to limit the risk of disease spreading

Small flocks

Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry, including chickens, ducks and geese must also take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals. This also applies if you only have a few birds as pets.

An outbreak of avian influenza in backyard poultry results in the same restrictions on movement of birds. It has the same impact on farmers and trade in poultry as an outbreak on a commercial farm would have.

Posters for land managers and local authorities

Gov.uk has published posters for land managers and local authorities to warn the public that either bird flu has been detected in the area or to not risk spreading the virus:

Bird gatherings

The Scottish bird gatherings general licence was amended to prohibit gatherings of specified species of birds. Changes took effect from 12 December 2022.

This means gatherings are prohibited of:

  • kept galliformes (chickens, turkeys, pheasants, partridges, quails and other land fowl)
  • kept anseriformes, (ducks, geese, swans and other water fowl)
  • poultry

Organisers of all gatherings are encouraged to ensure their gathering complies with the conditions of the bird gathering general licence.


Email: Animal.Health@gov.scot