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Millions of birds around the world die every year, whether through natural causes, disease or deliberate slaughter for meat.

The way birds are disposed of following their death should, in large part, be determined by how they died to protect other birds and humans from the risk of infection. Incineration plays a key role in this.

What to do with a dead bird(s)

If a dead bird(s), wider poultry waste and by-product isn’t managed effectively, it can lead to severe water pollution, the development of new animal virus strains and the spread of infectious diseases.

As such, poultry farmers are expected to meet certain guidelines for poultry waste management. However, the costs to do so are steadily increasing. Collection fees are rising, and transportation prices are becoming more expensive, meaning remaining compliant can come with an increasing price tag.

To protect public health, the environment and living poultry, farmers must make conscientious, safe decisions when it comes to managing the waste of fallen birds. There are several ways to deal with a dead bird(s), but internationally, incineration has long been known as the most effective tool for the management of poultry waste.

Dead poultry

Was it a diseased bird?

The most common diseases to affect birds, including chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks, guinea fowl and more, include:

  • Newcastle Disease
  • Avian Bird Flu
  • Low pathogenic avian flu
  • A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) strains
  • LPAI & PAI strains
  • Fallen Livestock
  • A(H5N1), A(H7N9) and A(H9N2)

It's not always easy to spot if a bird is diseased, but there are certain physical and behavioural symptoms to look out for:

  • The bird has dull or unfocused eyes, or the eyes are swollen
  • Its feathers are fluffed or rumpled even when it’s not cold
  • A crust or discharge may form around its eyes, mouth or nose
  • It may lose feathers, or they might become dirty or matted
  • The bird might have a visible injury or wound which is at risk of becoming infected
  • It has trouble breathing or is demonstrably panting or puffing
  • It’s reluctant or is unable to fly
  • The bird is drinking water excessively
  • Its wings are drooped, slouched, or it has an unsteady posture
  • Its head is leaning to one side
  • The bird is continually falling asleep

Burying a dead bird

How to safely and correctly dispose of deceased poultry depends on the cause of death of the bird, as well as the laws of the country where the bird lived.

If burying dead poultry is the best course of action based on the circumstances of your bird’s death and the regulations you’re bound to, you should bury the carcass at least two feet deep. Large rocks should be placed on the burial site to prevent predators digging up the remains. The burial site should be away from water courses, ponds, creeks or wells to ensure the decomposing carcass doesn’t contaminate water.

Using a poultry incinerator

Incineration is the most efficient and biosecure method of poultry waste disposal and is proven to reduce infection risk to other birds, humans and water courses.

Inciner8 offers a wide range of poultry incineration machines to assist in the burning of chickens, turkeys, game, geese, hatcheries and more.


Other dead bird removal systems

Though incineration is the most effective method of poultry waste disposal, there are other ways to remove dead bird carcass and by-product.


If a bird dies of natural causes, it can be sent to landfill. This is an easy and convenient method of removal, though costs associated with this method are rising


Most suitable for large poultry farms, there are strict rules around composting to ensure biosecurity and prevent pathogens from entering soil, which could contaminate the feed of livestock or pollute water courses

Can incineration improve biosecurity?

Incineration is the SAFEST and MOST BIOSECURE solution for those who wish to correctly manage their poultry waste, especially if birds are found to have been carrying a disease or virus. Incineration allows for rapid disposal of infected animal carcases, reducing the cross contamination risk, which means other animals and humans are less likely to catch airborne viruses or diseases through contaminated water and food.

Incinerating dead birds can also provide farmers with a new fertiliser stream. Incinerating purely chicken waste, for example, converts it to just three per cent bottom ash & usually rich in nutrients and vitamins, and therefore perfect for spreading.

Types of incinerators for dead birds

Inciner8’s DEFRA-approved poultry machines are available in a variety of sizes to suit all bird farms. They’re designed to produce only clean air and have excellent burn rates, and keep nitrogen and potassium levels within safe parameters.

We offer mobile incinerators to enable users to destroy waste at source and avoid any risks in transporting infected materials or sick birds. In many cases, no permit is required (providing you are burning less than 50kg per hour) to implement this effective method of disease control and prevention.

For more information on our incinerators for dead birds, please visit our Bird Flu & Avian Flu Incinerators by INCINER8 page. If you need any more information in regards to the options available for agricultural incinerators then please contact our experts on +44 1704 884020 or alternatively click the chat icon at the top right of this page.

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