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Animal health and welfare

Avian influenza (bird flu)

Avian influenza (bird flu) affects birds.

It can also affect humans and other mammals.

All bird keepers, whether:

  • running a large commercial farm;
  • keeping a few hens in the back garden; or
  • rearing game birds;

must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times.

There are some simple measures you should take to protect your birds against avian influenza:

  • Keep the area where your birds live clean and tidy.
  • Control rats and mice.
  • Cleanse and disinfect any hard surfaces
  • Clean footwear before and after visiting your birds
  • Place your birds' food and water in enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds and remove any spilled feed.

Keep your birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around the outdoor areas they access.

If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompts advice from your vet.

You can find more information on the website - avian influenza [external link].

Trading Standards enforces the laws that regulate those businesses which deal with farmed livestock.


  • farmers;
  • transporters;
  • markets;
  • those that regulate the manufacture, distribution and supply of animal feed.

We enforce the laws that apply to animal disease prevention and control.

We enforce the laws that apply to the movement, identification and traceability of farm animals.

It is important that businesses, including backyard keepers, understand and follow:

  • animal health laws;
  • welfare laws;
  • feed hygiene laws, including the rules that apply to animal by-product disposal.

Want to find out more?

A range of guidance leaflets that can help you get the information you need:

Animal health and welfare advice.

Do you still need help?

If you are a Darlington business or backyard keeper, please email us at [email protected].

How to report abuse or other welfare problems.

If you suspect a problem with a farm animal, you can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service [external link] by ringing them on 0808 223 1133.

If you suspect that any other animal is being subjected to any form of cruelty, you can report it to the RSCPA [external link].

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