Skip to: main navigation | main content | sitemap | accessibility page



Call +44 (0)1392 872932

Preparing for the housing order

Following the announcement of the introduction of a mandatory housing order for England, due to the increased risk of avian influenza that will be introduced from 00:01 on Monday 7th November, producers are encouraged to prepare, in order to maintain animal health and welfare. There is some guidance below, together with information on how our team has been, and will continue to work, to safeguard your flock and those of others.

We will of course continue to update you throughout however if you have any queries, or would like further advice as you prepare, please do not hesitate to contact your local vet or our main number on 01392 872932.

St David’s Poultry Team arrangements

To safeguard your flock and the flocks of others, the following measures are in place:

Avian Influenza dedicated vets

Each region has an AI dedicated vet. Rotating weekly, these are the only vets who conduct site visits within a protection zone (3km) or surveillance zone (10km). After their final visit to a site within either of these zones, there will be a gap of at least 72 hours where they will do no visits, before restarting visits to farms outside of these zones.

During this time when you call our office team, you will be asked more in-depth questions than you would outside of an AI outbreak, to check if there are any clinical signs that suggest AI in your flock. If there are, you will be put through to a vet immediately.

The housing order: How to prepare

The following can help your flock to prepare:

Pop holes: Begin to vary the times the pop holes are open – this will give you an idea of how the birds will react and what you might need to do to mitigate against the effects
Ventilation: Ensuring good levels of ventilation is key to prevent poor litter quality. For automatically ventilated houses, contact your supplier for advice if required
Litter: As the birds start to spend more time indoors, badly capped litter should be removed

Managing flock stress

Housing can induce stress which may lead to behavioural changes and aggression. Managing flocks efficiently and effectively will always need fine tuning of the environment and inputs however changes should be introduced gradually. Flocks should be monitored carefully to make sure that the effects are beneficial rather than detrimental. 

  • Feather pecking, resulting in injury, can start. Early identification and action are vital to protecting and maintaining welfare and flock productivity as it can be difficult to control once this behaviour has been established. Reducing the lux levels of lighting (within legal levels) can help to calm the birds and prevent bullying
  • Enrichment: Enrichment should always be in place – especially destructible products such as alfalfa bales and pecking blocks. The Natu-Pek product is based on Alltech technology with added gut health nutraceuticals, whilst Vitfloss is harder. Grit given at 7g/bird/week sprinkled on the scratch area may also help keep the birds occupied and helps keep litter friable as they scratch about to find the particles

Enrichment usage: Birds will use the enrichment more when it’s first introduced, and less over time
Be consistent: Don’t remove enrichment once it’s been introduced. Once birds are used to a certain type of enrichment, they can become stressed if it’s removed – make sure you have enough stock for the duration of the housing order

  • Smothering: Monitor the birds often, especially around the times when the pop holes would usually open. Crowds of birds should be broken up by walking the scratch area. Placing ramps or other objects to stop birds crowding, can also help. Electric fences should only be used as a last resort and after discussion with your vet who will then need to write a letter to allow for a derogation for use, depending on the age of the flock
  • Vaccinations: Being indoors increases infection pressure for diseases such as Infectious Bronchitis (IB). During a housing order, vaccinations should continue to be given, in vaccinated flocks, in the usual way
  • Nutraceuticals: These can help support birds’ health and help manage stress. For conventional flocks examples include Amino Plus and Herbivit or Viovit Plus for organic producers
  • Multivitamins: Can support eggshell quality, if the birds are displaying signs of stress
    Worm testing: Is important as birds can still succumb to infestations
  • Parasite control: Monitor red mite levels as they are likely to increase due to the rise in temperature of the house

Useful products

Our Dispensary stock a variety of products that can support flock health during the housing order, examples are below. Please email or 01392 872932, if you would like more information or to order.

Browse by category