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Avian influenza (bird flu)

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), St Helens Borough Council environmental health and emergency planning services are responsible for dealing with outbreaks of diseases like avian influenza.

Government update - 18 May 2023

Mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds has been lifted but as a poultry or captive bird owner there is still a legal requirement to follow the hygiene and disease prevention rules, DEFRA - Stop the spread of Avian Influenza


Keep up to date with changes to hygiene and disease prevention by registering your flock.

Registering your 'flock'

If you own more than 50 birds, you must  inform APHA of your 'flock' and  it will be added to the compulsory avian register your 'flock' even if it is made up of a variety of species. You can register your flock by emailing

If you have a flock of less than 50 birds, you can voluntarily register your flock by emailing

By registering your flock you will get up-to-date relevant information about avian influenza in your area and advice on how to protect your flock.

Anyone can register for avian influenza updates.

If you require further advice on bio-security measures to protect your flock, please email

What resident and bird owners need to do now

Wild birds

The risk to public health from the avian flu virus is very low, however it is important that people do not pick up sick or dead birds.

Parks and open spaces

You should call the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77) if you find:

  • one or more dead birds of prey or owls
  • three or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks) 
  • five or more dead birds of any species

Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find. For further information see the government's advice to the public.

If you find a single dead bird in parks and open spaces, please contact the land owner and inform them where the dead bird is. The land owner may not be St Helens Borough Council.

In your own garden

If you find dead wild birds in your garden, except the species and numbers listed above, please follow this information on disposing of the dead bird.