How to report and dispose of a dead bird


  1. Overview
  2. Information for bird keepers
  3. What you can do when you're out and about
  4. How to report a dead bird
  5. Disposing of a dead bird found at your home
  6. More information


An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) is in place across England.

This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures to protect your birds from avian influenza (bird flu). 

If you keep birds, you could spread the disease to them.

If you think you have been in contact with a bird with avian influenza, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

If you suspect bird flu in poultry or other captive birds, you must report it immediately by calling 03000 200 301.

Information for bird keepers

This guidance is for all commercial and recreational / back yard and captive bird keepers.

If you are a bird keeper, you should:

  • remain alert for any signs of disease
  • report suspected disease immediately
  • make sure you are maintaining good biosecurity on your premises

Biosecurity actions for poultry keepers

It is a legal requirement for all bird keepers, including poultry and captive birds, to keep them indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures.

If you are a poultry and / or captive bird keeper, you must:

  • house or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild birds.
  • cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds. If practical, use disposable, protective clothing.
  • reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept. This will help to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products.
  • regularly cleanse and disinfect housing thoroughly.
  • keep records of mortality, movement of poultry and poultry products and any changes in production.
  • stop poultry accessing ponds and watercourses, and make sure birds are kept in fenced or enclosed areas.
  • keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points.
  • reduce direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds. This includes making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds.
  • effective vermin control including pest proofing, must be carried out in areas where poultry or other captive birds are kept.

For more information and advice, see GOV.UK: Avian influenza prevention zone (AIPZ): biosecurity checklist for bird keepers.

Guidance for housing captive birds safely is available at GOV.UK: Bird flu (avian influenza): housing your birds safely.

The Counil is responsible for enforcing these legal requirements. If you don't follow the requirements, you may be visited and further action may be taken.

Register as a poultry or game bird keeper

You can register fewer than 50 birds, or birds you keep as pets.

You are encouraged to register, but it is not a legal requirement.

By registering:

  • The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will be able to contact you if there's a disease outbreak (such as bird flu) in your area
  • You'll help stop the spread of disease, and protect the national poultry flock

For more information, and to register, see GOV.UK: Poultry (including game birds): registration rules and forms

What you can do when you're out and about

When you are out and about:

  • Stick to walking on pathways.
  • Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick wild birds. They may be carrying avian influenza.
  • Avoid feeding wild waterfowl.
  • Do not touch wild bird feathers or surfaces with droppings.
  • If you find a dead wild bird, you should report it. See how to report a dead wild bird.

How to report a dead bird

You can report dead wild birds online, if you find:

  • dead birds of prey, including owls
  • 3 or more dead, wild waterfowl (swans, ducks, geese and gulls)
  • 5 or more dead, wild birds of any other species 

GOV.UK: Report dead wild birds

Or, you can report them to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) helpline - 03459 335 577.

Disposing of a dead bird found at your home

Contact the DEFRA helpline on 03459 335 577 to report the dead wild bird.

If the birds are not required for surveillance purposes, please follow the government guidance on disposing of a dead wild bird found at your home.

For more information on how to dispose of dead wild birds, see GOV,UK: Removing and disposing of dead wild birds.

More information

For more information, see GOV.UK: Avian influzena (bird flu).