Avian influenza FAQs for backyard poultry owners

Avian influenza (AI) has been detected in the Golden Plains Shire, on a farm near Bairnsdale and a farm near Kerang. Avian influenza is a highly infectious disease affecting many bird species including pet and farmed chickens and can result in significant deaths on poultry farms. Movement controls are now in place to prevent the spread of AI.

What species are affected?

Domestic poultry, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, emus and ostriches are most susceptible to being affected by avian influenza. Many species of wild birds, including waterfowl and seabirds can carry the virus but usually show no signs of disease.

What do I need to do?

All bird owners, particularly those living in the current Restricted and Control Areas, need to be vigilant for any signs of avian influenza in their flocks. Owners of backyard poultry or free-range poultry should be especially cautious as they are more likely to be exposed to wild birds. Owners should report any unexplained sick or dead birds to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 1800 675 888.

Housing orders

Information on the housing orders for poultry owners within the Golden Plains Shire Restricted and Control Areas is on this website.

How do I protect my birds from avian influenza?

Implement good biosecurity measures to prevent wild birds from gaining access to the same food and water supplies as your poultry. This may include:

  • preventing domesticated poultry from accessing open ponds, lakes, creeks or other watercourses
  • purchasing poultry and birds, litter and feed from accredited sources
  • quarantining new birds until comfortable they are disease-free
  • separating poultry and their food and drink from wild birds (e.g. by using netting)
  • storing litter and feed securely to avoid contamination by wild birds
  • practising good hygiene at all times
  • not permitting visitors to areas where poultry are kept
  • maintaining facilities (e.g. poultry sheds) to ensure safe and hygienic containment.

Water supplied to poultry should not originate from sources where wild birds frequent. The following water sources are less likely to be contaminated:

  • treated (chlorinated) mains water
  • bore water that has been tested and is suitable quality for poultry; poultry have a low tolerance to saline water.

What do I do if I suspect avian influenza?

Bird owners should be vigilant for signs of disease, especially where multiple deaths occur in poultry, or many birds are unwell. Avian influenza is a notifiable disease. Suspicion of infection must be reported to Agriculture Victoria on the Emergency Animal Disease hotline 1800 675 888 or to your local Agriculture Victoria Animal Health and Welfare staff.

What are the movement controls?

Movement controls dependent on the risk, have been put in place. These controls prohibit, until further notice, the movement of birds, equipment and products within and out of, the designated Restricted Area and Control Area, except under permit issued by Agriculture Victoria.

How do I apply for a permit?

For movement permits of poultry, poultry products and vehicles involved in poultry production within the Restricted Area and Control Area please apply online here.

Please see the relevant map and contact the Customer Contact Centre on (03) 4334 2715 (between 9 am and 5 pm) for advice on a permit.

Are my eggs safe to eat?

No food safety issues have been identified – properly cooked chicken meat and eggs are safe to eat.

Can I give my eggs to family and friends?

Eggs, equipment, poultry or birds can only be moved within the Restricted and Control areas with a permit.

Outside the Restricted and Control areas, you can continue to collect eggs from your birds and give them to family and friends without a permit. This is provided they also live outside the Restricted and Control areas and all coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions on movement are followed.

Can I continue selling my eggs privately?

Eggs, equipment, poultry or birds can only be moved within the Restricted and Control areas with a permit.

Outside the Restricted and Control areas you can continue selling eggs for human consumption, provided you comply with the Victorian Food Act 1984 and national Primary Production and Processing Standard for Eggs and Egg Product (the Standard) and all other obligations.

Restricted Area and Control Area maps

Avian influenza contains up-to-date maps of the Restricted Area and Control Area.

Resources

More information

See Keeping backyard poultry for more information on keeping your chickens safe from disease and what to do if you suspect disease.

Page last updated: 25 Sep 2020