Requirement for poultry to be housed set to continue due to bird flu risk

The requirement for all poultry and captive birds to be housed is set to continue in the Republic of Ireland due to the risk of bird flu outbreaks.

All poultry and captive birds are to remain confined until further notice by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The measures were brought into force just before Christmas and the Department has decided to extend these requirements following a review of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 situation.

These measures are believed to be necessary to protect the high health status of the larger national poultry flock, as cases continue to be reported in wild birds.

As confining birds will not fully protect birds from the introduction of the virus, all flock owners are also required to implement biosecurity measures, according to the Department.

Poultry keepers are advised to reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products.

Effective vermin control programmes, including preventing the entry of wild and domestic animals such as dogs or cats, around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept, should also be implemented.

There are also a number of other bio-security measures which poultry keepers are advised to put in place to minimise the possibility of contact between wildbirds and poultry flocks.

An extensive list of advice on how to protect against avian influenza is available on the Department’s website, as well as specific biosecurity advice for backyard flocks.

The Department urges flock owners to remain vigilant in their efforts to protect their birds from the threat of avian influenza.

Gatherings of birds for shows, exhibitions and races is permitted, subject to advance notification and compliance with biosecurity measures, according to the Department.

Similar measures have also been introduced in Northern Ireland, and will remain in place until March 16.