Duck Hunting and Mutton Birding Avian - Influenza Risks?

​​​Is it safe to eat wild game birds such as wild ducks​​ or mutton birds?

It is safe to consume wild game birds and mutton birds providing they are handled with normal kitchen hygiene and cooked properly.

How should wild game species and mutton birds be handled?

Normal sanitary precautions should always be followed when handling any wild birds.

Although wild birds, particularly of the duck family, are considered the natural host for Avian Influenza, the ducks that are carriers of the virus overseas do not migrate to Australia. There has also been no evidence to date of Avian Influenza in mutton birds in Tasmania. Surveillance in Australia continues to confirm that highly pathogenic Avian Influenza viruses (such as H5N1) are not known to be present in Australia.

It is sensible to use normal hygiene precautions when handling game birds and mutton birds:

  • After handling or cleaning birds, wash hands thoroughly with soap.

  • Cook birds thoroughly.

  • Avoid any bird that appears sick or is acting abnormally.

  • Ensure that equipment, clothing, boots etc are cleaned thoroughly with soap or detergent.​

What should I do if I see something unusual in wild birds?

If you come across a large number of dead or sick wild birds or any other circumstances that look unusual, you should not handle the birds without the proper personal protection equipment.

Immediately telephone the NRE Tas all hours Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888. Alternatively, contact your local veterinarian.


Animal Disease Enquiries

13 St Johns Avenue,
New Town, TAS, 7008.