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H5N8 Avian Flu And Scotland


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Hi All,


Have been reading a few documents tonight that you may find interesting:


1) Scottish Goverment - Avian Influenza Protection measures (11/11/2020)






2) Scottish Government - Avian influenza (bird flu): how to spot and report the disease (11/11/2020)







3) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Rapid risk assessment on incursion of H5N8 HPAI into housed or not housed poultry flocks and captive birds (09/11/2020)






4) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Risk assessment on the likelihood of spread of H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza associated with racing pigeons (Published March 2017)





My question for this evening is are we being expected to keep the pigeons locked up just now?


Any advice or feedback will be gratefully received.


Warm regards,



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My understanding is that it is UK wide and we are not allowed to let the pigeons out in order to protect them from contact with wild birds. :)


Good afternoon all,


Thanks for your response Kyleakin but I'm not sure that Racing Pigeon fanciers have been told to definitively keep their birds in yet. The guidance, as far as I have read it, appears to relate to Poultry and Pigeons bred for meat.


I think racing pigeons are still allowed to fly around the loft?


The statutory requirement to report '5 dead birds' also seems to relate to wild birds?


The last 2 winters I have had about 7 or more young birds go down to 'Young Bird Sickness' in the Autumn/Early Winter and I have not reported it officially as Racing Pigeons are well known to naturally succumb to an unnerving 'cull' of birds with weaker constitutions in Autumn/Winter.


My personal thoughts are that the birds who come through Winter have enhanced immunity. I also feel that as Racing Pigeon Fanciers routinely treat for Canker, Coccidiosis, Worms, Lice and PMV that Racing Pigeons are probably low to very low risk of passing on diseases to other avian species.



My question is should I be keeping the birds locked in? Has there been any recent official guidance for Scotland about this?



I'm a District Nurse and currently trying to help finish off the routine vaccinations for Influenza in our patients before awaiting the expected pressures of the vaccination schedule for COVID 19.



We need clear guidance on whether to lock our pigeons in. I don't favour this approach for the obvious reasons that keeping livestock in restricted housing, unless we are able to 'up the ante' in terms of cleaning/sterilisation, is likely to concentrate transmission of disease.


In my personal experience I am less inclined to spend time cleaning in the colder weather unless there is an obvious issue - e.g. YB Sickness


Can anyone clarify if we should be locking up our pigeons in Scotland?


Kind regards,



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Thanks Redcheqhen,


I hadn't seen that thread yet. As far as I can tell we're not permitted to race, group train or show pigeons at the moment but I don't think we've been advised to keep the birds locked in yet. This is of course different for poultry keepers who have been advised to keep their livestock permanently housed for now, as far as I can see.


I think pigeon men will benefit from the increased biosecurity until this H5N8 event has passed but until SHU or the Government tell us to keep our birds inside I think we are permitted to loft fly the birds for now?


Warm regards,



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Why cant the SHU put up an answer to this directly to basics and stop all the doubts?...

Might save a lot of speculation and confusion ...

Misinformation is of no use to anyone ....

?...Archie could you email SHU and publish their reply on here and solve the question ...

Thankin you ...

Theres an SHU website, why don't they just put updated information on to it, surely this could be done when the y are emailing the Federations

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