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Department announces plan to remove the requirement to house poultry and other captive birds

The 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 the 9th of April 2021.

The legislation requiring the precautionary confinement of birds was introduced on the 21st 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 1st 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.

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 www.gov.ie/en/publication/50ce4-avian-influenza-bird-flu/#avian-biosecurity-measures-guidance

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  www.gov.ie/en/service/984df6-poultry-register/

Further information on avian influenza can be found at:  www.gov.ie/en/publication/50ce4-avian-influenza-bird-flu/

A list of Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine offices and their contact details is available at  www.gov.ie/en/publication/cc6cee-regional-veterinary-offices/

Avian influenza helpline: Tel: 076 1064403

Wild bird app: aviancheck.apps.rhos.agriculture.gov.ie/

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