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Bird-keeping threshold drops from 50 to one, says Defra

Whether you keep one bird or 50, you must be APHA registered.

All kept birds, not only poultry, will now need to be registered with the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) and the threshold number of birds kept that requires registration will be reduced from 50 to one, Defra has announced.

This follows the publication of the responses and outcomes of Defra’s consultation on “proposed registration requirements for all bird keepers in Great Britain”, held between March and May 2023. The registration does not apply to birds such as budgies that are caged within a dwelling. 

These new requirements will be implemented in two phases. The mandatory registration of all bird keepers will apply from 1 September 2024 in Scotland and 1 October 2024 in England and Wales. The majority of respondents to the consultation believed existing registration requirements were sufficient but Defra, NatureScot and Natural Resources Wales decided to tighten controls. 

Those who keep 50 or more gamebirds or ducks are already required to register with the APHA. Now, anyone who keeps any number of gamebirds or ducks in a rearing or release pen will need to register.