Warnings about bird flu have been issued to West Sussex poultry owners by Trading Standards.
It comes after two confirmed cases of avian flu in the UK in domestic ‘back yard’ chicken flocks.
Government restrictions require all poultry keepers to move birds into a suitable building away from wild birds.
If that is not possible, owners must take sensible precautions.
-Putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure; and
-Keeping food and water supplies inside where wild birds cannot contaminate them.
Peter Aston, Trading Standards manager said: “Initial outbreaks in the UK were in commercial premises, but the last two have been in hens kept at peoples’ homes.
“In both cases the owners ignored the restrictions on keeping them separated from contact with wild birds.
“The result was the destruction of those birds and restrictions placed on commercial premises around them.”
He added: “It’s really important keepers of domestic poultry play their part in preventing the spread of Avian Flu by observing the restrictions.
“Otherwise, not only do they risk losing their birds to the virus, they risk causing commercial poultry businesses to lose theirs too.
“This could have a devastating effect on the county’s economy.
“Trading Standards Officers will consider enforcement action against any poultry keeper refusing to follow restrictions.”
Residents who notice someone keeping poultry in the open are urged to report it to Trading Standards by using the online tool at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport
Reports can be made anonymously.
For more information on avian flu visit www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.