Ireland lifts requirement for confinement of poultry
The legislation requiring the confinement of birds was introduced on the 23 December 2016.
The decision to lift the confinement 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.
Lifting the requirement to confine birds means that all poultry and bird owners can now allow their birds access to open areas and runs.
However owners should not be complacent as there is still the possibility of the virus being present in the environment or being transmitted to their flock by wild birds.
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 be fed indoors or under cover where feasible.
The change also means that free range flocks will regain their status for the purposes of marketing free range eggs and poultry meat and there will no longer be a requirement for additional labelling.
However only eggs produced and birds slaughtered from 25 April 2017 can be marketed as free range.
The Department also reminds all poultry owners, including those who keep small numbers of “backyard” poultry, of their legal obligation to register their premises with the Department.
A temporary, dedicated Poultry Registration and Update Unit was established by the Department in order to ensure that the poultry register is accurate and up to date. ■