The legal requirement to confine/house poultry and other birds as a precautionary measure against Avian Influenza (bird flu) will be lifted from Friday, April 9, 2021, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced.
The legislation requiring the precautionary confinement of birds was introduced in 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, the authority said.
This includes the fact that no case of bird flu has been confirmed here in wild birds for a period of eight 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 April 9, the department said, adding:
“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 December 1 – 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, the authority stressed.
The department also issued a reminder to all poultry owners, including those who keep only 1 or 2 birds, of their legal obligation to register their premises with the department.