The Diseases of Poultry (England) Order 2003

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. Please note that some of the advice we provide to businesses is chargeable.

This Order came into force on the 30th April 2003. It revokes and re-enacts with amendments a number of earlier Orders regarding poultry.

The continuing purpose of this Order is to make Paramyxovirus 1 in pigeons, Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease notifiable diseases. Anyone who suspects that any bird or carcase, not just poultry, is affected by one of the diseases then they MUST notify the Divisional Veterinary Manager (DVM) of Defra immediately. The DVM can be contacted on 0118 959 6695. They then must immediately apply the restrictions and requirements shown in the Schedule to the Order.

The Order includes measures designed to contain any outbreak of disease and it's speedy eradication. There are a number of requirements, which need to be observed as a matter of routine, and it is these that this Guidance Note is designed to address.

Definition of poultry

The term "poultry" for most purposes of the Order means domestic fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowls, quails, pigeons, ratites (ostriches and emus etc), pheasants and partridges which are being reared or kept in captivity for breeding, the production of meat or eggs for consumption or for restocking supplies of game.

Poultry records

If you own or keep 250 birds or more then records must be kept when any enter or leave the premises.

Any person who is engaged in the transport or marketing of poultry or eggs, including slaughterers and auctioneers, must also keep the following records:

  • the date and place they were obtained
  • their species and description
  • the name and address of the person from whom they were obtained
  • the date they left the premises
  • their destination on leaving the premises (if known)
  • the purpose for which they left the premises
  • the name and address of the person to whom they were transferred

The records once made shall be kept for at least twelve months and be produced to an inspector.


Cleanliness is vital in preventing the outbreak and spread of disease. Premises, fittings and cages used for the showing or sale of poultry and racing pigeons must be cleansed and disinfected between use. Litter etc must be disposed of in a way, which prevents the possible spread of disease.

Crates and receptacles used to transport poultry and racing pigeons must also be cleansed and disinfected between use.

Racing pigeons

Organisers of Shows or Races for racing pigeons must ensure that all birds entered have been vaccinated against Paramyxovirus 1 in pigeons.

Every person who owns or keeps racing pigeons must ensure records are kept showing details of each show or race for which their birds have been entered.

The records once made shall be kept for twelve months and be produced to an inspector.