Dead Wild Bird Disease Surveillance Collection Service


UK Farmcare are contracted by Defra to collect a small number of some limited wild bird species and to deliver them to official veterinary laboratories for post mortem inspection and testing.  Certain diseases of wild birds can threaten the health of other wildlife and in certain circumstances some diseases, such as bird flu’ can threaten human health.



Who is UK Farmcare?

UK Farmcare are involved in support of the veterinary surveillance of animal health. We act as agents of the Authority for collection of certain dead animals and also support vets in the testing of live animals for certain disease. While UK Farmcare is led by vets, our collectors have no veterinary training and cannot answer technical questions.


Why are the UK Farmcare collection team wearing protective clothing and masks?

Certain diseases of wild birds have the potential to threaten human health. The protective clothing and equipment is used to protect the health of the collectors and to ensure that there is minimal risk of transferring infection from one site to another.


Where will the dead birds be taken?

The dead birds are taken to the nearest available veterinary laboratory.


When will we hear about the results of any post mortem?

Unless there is need to investigate the issue in more depth or if a disease is identified that may threaten the health of other birds, animals or people, then you will not be informed of the results of the post mortem.


Should I be handling the ill or dead birds?

It is best to avoid handling dead animals of any sort if possible. If you do get involved in handling dead birds or animals then it is wise to wear some protective clothing such as gloves. Should you have any suspicion of ill-health then inform your doctor that you have handled dead birds recently.


What will happen to the other dead birds which are not collected for post-mortem?

UK Farmcare are not a carcass collection service. The Local Authority is responsible for removal of any animal carcasses. Please call your local authority to report the presence of any remaining dead birds or other animals.


Do I need to be concerned about the health of any other animals near to the dead birds?

Most diseases are species specific but certain health threats such as toxins may certainly threaten the health of other animals and humans. It is wise to ensure that all living creatures avoid contact with dead birds or the water in which they are found.


How do I report the illness and deaths of other birds?

Cal the Defra helpline 03459 33 55 77 to seek further advice and guidance.