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Ireland plans to lift bird flu housing measures on 9 April

Ireland's Department of Agriculture plans to lift the housing requirement for poultry and other captive birds on 9 April as bird flu numbers decline.

7 April 2021, at 8:45am

Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced that the legal requirement to confine/house poultry and other birds as a precautionary measure against Avian Influenza (bird flu) will be lifted from 9 April 2021.

The legislation requiring the precautionary confinement of birds was introduced on 21 December 2020 to mitigate the risk of avian influenza in poultry. The decision to withdraw this requirement is based on a number of parameters which indicate a reducing risk of an avian influenza incursion - including the fact that no case of bird flu has been confirmed here in wild birds for a period of 8 weeks, reducing numbers of migratory waterfowl and increasing environmental temperatures and daylight hours.

Removing the requirement to confine birds means that all poultry and bird owners may allow their birds access to open areas and runs from the 9th of April. The Department however urges flock owners to remain vigilant as, notwithstanding the reduced risk, there is still the possibility of the virus being present in the environment or being transmitted to their flock by wild birds.

Further enhanced biosecurity requirements that were introduced on 1 December (SI No. 566 of 2020) – the requirement to ensure that poultry or other captive birds cannot come into contact with wild birds, that all areas that poultry and captive birds have access to must be fenced and that they are restricted from access to open or permanent standing water – remain in place.

Restrictions on the assembly of live birds for the purposes of show or sale (SI No 567 of 2020) also remain in place for the time being.

Bird owners should continue to remain vigilant, monitor their birds for any signs of disease and implement strict disease control measures. In particular, birds should continue to be fed indoors or under cover where wild birds cannot have access. For further information on enhanced biosecurity requirements can be found at Avian influenza (Bird Flu)- Current Situation

The Department also reminds all poultry owners, including those who keep only 1 or 2 birds, of their legal obligation to register their premises with the Department. Guidance on how to register your poultry can be found at Poultry Register

Further information on avian influenza can be found at: Avian influenza (Bird Flu)- Current Situation