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National Pigeon Association

Bird gatherings: licences

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All links can be followed from the above website to the required documents

You need a licence to hold a bird gathering to hold gatherings of poultry and other captive birds (any bird kept in captivity, including pets).

Gatherings include birds being brought together:

  • for fairs, markets, shows, sales or exhibitions
  • in vehicles used for pigeon racing

You don’t need to apply for this licence but you must follow licence conditions.

Conditions of the bird gathering licence

You must get a risk assessment carried out by a vet to use this licence. The risk assessment must say that there’s no increased risk of avian influenza (bird flu) spreading if licence conditions are followed.

You must also follow all of the conditions in the Bird fairs, markets, shows and other gatherings - general licence (PDF, 29KB, 4 pages) as amended by Bird fairs, markets, shows and other gatherings - general licence (amendment) .

If the risk of the spread of bird flu increases, Defra or the Animal and Plant Health Agency (AHPA) may withdraw the licence immediately.

If there is an outbreak of bird flu, the licence will be withdrawn if the bird gathering is in the restriction zone. Find out more information about avian influenza (bird flu).

Notify APHA

You must notify your local Animal and Plant Health Agency Office at least 7 days before the event, including the following details about the gathering:

  • date
  • place
  • your name, address and contact number
  • type and number of birds

Records you must keep

You must keep a record of the:

  • name, address and contact number of anyone moving birds to and from the gathering
  • numbers and types of birds exhibited, raced, bought or sold at the gathering

Records must be kept for at least 3 months after the event.

Prevent the spread of disease

As a condition of the bird gathering licence you must try to prevent the spread of disease by:

  • making sure any containers you take to gatherings haven’t been contaminated with material from birds that aren’t at that gathering
  • dispose of (or treat to remove the risk of disease transmission) anything birds had access to, including:
    • feed
    • bedding
    • droppings
    • any other material of bird origin
    • anything left at the gathering which has been contaminated by the birds
  • clean and disinfect parts of the premises contaminated by birds or materials (apart from areas covered by grass)
  • make sure any containers left at the premises are cleaned and disinfected as soon as possible and before they’re used again


You can be prosecuted if you hold an animal gathering without a licence or fail to follow the licence conditions. You may also have your licence suspended or withdrawn.

Contact Details

Animal gatherings and shows: licences

Telephone: 03000 200 301
For customers in Scotland and Wales, contact your local Field Services Office