Renfrewshire Council

Renfrewshire Council has acted to protect poultry flocks following the death of a number of wild birds at Barshaw Park Nature Corner.

The pigeon paramyxo virus has been identified as the cause of the deaths of a number of wild dead birds found in Barshaw Park Nature Corner . 

The virus carries no risk to public health but can have significant impact if it transfers to the poultry industry where it is known as "Newcastle Disease".   

Council staff having been working closely with senior vets from the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) in managing and controlling the virus. The Nature Corner was immediately closed as a precaution and biosecurity measures put in place to minimise any spread of the virus. Unfortunately, tests revealed the virus had already been transmitted to the resident dove population within the Nature Corner. 

The priority of APHA senior vets was to prevent the pigeon paramyxo virus transferring to poultry species within the Nature Corner and potentially impacting on  the national poultry flock.  Their advice was that the Council arrange for the poultry birds at the Nature Corner to be humanely and professionally euthanised as a matter of urgency. This morning (Friday 13 January) all 23 poultry birds were humanely culled. This included chicken, ducks, bantams, geese and guinea fowl. 

As non-poultry species, the remaining 55 birds including pigeons and other doves as well as parakeets and a peacock, did not present any risk and will remain in the Nature Corner where they will continue to be looked after. 

Legislation requires that the Nature Corner remains closed for a minimum of  60 days after no further disease is identified, this is to ensure that the virus cannot be transmitted further. 

Re-stocking of the Nature Corner with a range of species which will provide interest to visitors will then be undertaken when the Nature Corner re-opens to visitors. 

A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: "The public can be assured that every step was taken to manage the necessary culling process in a humane manner. 

"It is important to be clear that there was no risk to the general public, park users or other plant and animal species. Obviously no-one wants to have to carry out a cull but the advice from senior government vets was clear - Newcastle Disease can devastate national poultry flocks and it was crucial we act to prevent an outbreak."