Windsor new bird flu control zone means new rules for feeding the Queen’s swans

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has established bird-flu disease control zones on Windsor and Eton riverside.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead i ssued a statement on the bird flu disease control zone on January 7 which was set up by Defra on January 10.

The establishment of the zone means that there are certain precautions walkers and bird keepers must take.

READ MORE : Bird flu detected in mute swan

Dogs will no longer be able to go off their leads near the zones and the public will no longer be able to feed the birds.

Bird keepers must also undertake biosecurity precautions.

An avian influenza prevention zone came into force across the UK in November 2021, following the rising of bird flu cases – linked to migrating birds.

The risk to human health is very low, but there is a threat to wild birds such as swans and to captive poultry flocks, and measures are focused on trying to minimise transmission.

The control zone was established on Windsor riverside following recently identified bird flu cases in swans on the River Thames at Eton.

The infected birds were put down by Defra vets.

A spokesperson for Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said: “The local zone covers a 3km (1.86 mile) radius from the river at Eton and requires all bird keepers, regardless of flock size, to undertake additional biosecurity precautions, over and above those already implemented nationally.

“The Royal Borough is working closely with Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency to implement the controlled zone and notify bird keepers of the zone and associated requirements.

“Following advice of the Animal and Plant Health Agency, we will be putting in place, on a precautionary and temporary basis, targeted and proportionate measures focussed around the affected area.

“Signage will be in place from Monday and we are asking everyone to play their part in helping to minimise spread in order to protect our swans, other waterfowl and commercial poultry flocks.

“From Monday (January 10), people will be required to keep dogs on leads along the eastern and western riverbanks at Windsor and Eton, including adjacent grassy areas such as The Brocas.

“This gives owners more control over their pets and reduces the risk of dogs getting involved with potentially-infected bird mess on the riverbanks and spreading the infection on their feet.

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“Also from Monday, signage will be up asking people not to feed the swans at Eton and Windsor for the time being, in order to reduce public footfall to the riverside and discourage swans and other waterfowl from congregating closely together to get food.

“But don’t worry, the swans won’t go hungry as the charity Swan Support has agreed to monitor the swan population on the river and feed in a measured way.”

  • Anyone who finds dead wild waterfowl such as swans, geese or ducks, or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey are urged to call Defra on 03459 33 55 77.

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