Biosecurity, Poultry and Pet Birds

Protect your poultry and pet birds

Wild birds can carry diseases such as avian influenza, Newcastle disease and salmonella. There is a small risk that they could infect domestic poultry or even pet birds.  A few basic precautions will minimise that risk.

Store bird or poultry feed and feed it out in a manner that avoids contamination from wild birds and rodents. If your birds are free range ensure the feeder is protected under shelters or in special feeders that deter mixing with wild birds rather than having feeders out in the open.  Make sure that wild birds cannot access your bird or poultry water supply, as this can be another significant contamination risk. A protected water supply, straight from the tap, is best. If you have to use dam water, you should chlorinate it.

Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling your birds, collecting the eggs, cleaning out their cages or bird baths or doing anything else that involves coming into contact with them or their droppings.

If you attract birds into your garden with bird feeders, ensure that they are placed in areas where you are unlikely to be in contact with their droppings.

Prevent your cat from killing and eating wild birds.

Clean bird areas at least once a week and clean and disinfect feed containers regularly.

The Department has produced a biosecurity checklist all bird keeper should use to minimise the risk of Avian Influenza and a range of other diseases.

Using poultry litter as fertiliser

If you spread old chicken litter onto your paddocks as fertiliser, do not graze these paddocks with sheep, goats or cattle until there has been sufficient pasture growth to absorb all the litter - that's around 21 days in good growing weather, longer if growth is poor.

The Department has produced a biosecurity fact sheet which explains the risks of using poultry litter as fertilisers and the simple steps you need to take to minimise these risks : 

  Poultry Litter   (281Kb)

Biosecurity guidelines to reduce the risk of Salmonella to your poultry

  Biosecurity guidelines to reduce the risk of Salmonella to your poultry   (780Kb)

Biosecurity guidelines for poultry/bird shows 

If you take poultry to bird shows, there are some important biosecurity steps that should be taken to minimise the risk of disease. These include:

  • Show organisers should keep different species separate wherever possible. In particular, waterfowl should not be displayed near pigeons, poultry or other birds.
  • Show organisers should have a vet in attendance or contactable by phone during the show.
  • Judges should wash and, ideally, disinfect their hands between handling birds.
  • Exhibitors should not take any bird to a show if it looks ill.
  • Exhibitors should avoid handling birds other than their own, but if they do they should wash their hands in between handling birds.
  • Exhibitors should clean and disinfect all equipment and containers before and after the show and should also ensure their show birds are kept separate from the rest of their flock for a while before they are put back in the flock.
For further information:


Animal Disease Enquiries
13 St Johns Avenue
New Town TAS 7008
Phone: 03 6165 3263

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