Monday 8 November 2021

Changes to the Scottish Bird Gatherings General Licence in force from 00:01 8th November 2021

Please be aware that, taking effect Monday 8th November at 00:01 hours, the Scottish General Bird Gathering Licence is to be amended to prohibit gatherings of specified species of birds

Following a risk assessment and the introduction of a Great Britain-wide Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, the amended licence will prohibit gatherings of kept galliformes (chickens, turkeys, pheasants, partridges, quails and other land fowl) and of kept Anseriformes, (ducks, geese, swans and other water fowl). Gatherings of all other types of birds will be permitted, provided that the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) has been notified of the gathering at least 7 days before the event and that the gathering meets all the requirements of the general licence.

Gatherings include (but are not limited to) bird fairs, markets, shows, sales, exhibitions, and some premises used for dealing or internet sales. In addition, vehicles used to transport live birds where the birds are brought together from multiple premises (so called many-to-one or many-to-many activities) are also considered gatherings.

Changes to the bird gatherings general licence will come into force in all three GB administrations at the same time.

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ)

Colleagues are also reminded that an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across whole of Great Britain at 5pm on 3 November 2021. It introduces strict biosecurity measures for all bird keepers (including those who keep pet birds) to help prevent the spread of avian influenza from wild birds or any other source. The decision to implement this zone follows a risk assessment containing the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice.

Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to:


  • restrict access for non-essential personnel on their sites
  • ensure workers change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures
  • clean and disinfect site vehicles regularly to limit the risk of disease spreading
  • Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese must also take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.

This applies just as much if you only have a few birds as pets, or if you have a large commercial flock. An outbreak of avian influenza in backyard poultry results in the same restrictions on movement of birds. It has the same impact on farmers and trade in poultry as an outbreak on a commercial farm would have. Good biosecurity improves the overall health and productivity of your flock by helping keep out poultry diseases, such as avian influenza, and limiting the spread of disease in an outbreak.

The AIPZ, now in force across GB, does not currently include a requirement to house birds. However, this is being kept under constant review.

We have published more information on how to spot avian influenza.

You should always check whether different arrangements apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Keepers must keep a close watch on their birds for any signs of disease, and seek prompt advice from a vet if they have any concerns. Clinical signs indicative of avian influenza must be reported to your local APHA Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

If you find a single dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), a single dead bird of prey, or five or more dead wild birds of any other species (including gulls) at the same place at the same time, you should report them to Defra’s national telephone helpline: 03459 33 55 77 - please select option 7. It is advisable that you do not touch these birds.