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Farming sector welcomes lifting of AI housing measures in May

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With avian Influenza (AI) measures to be lifted on May 2, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is urging members to put appropriate biosecurity measures in place in preparation for releasing their flock into controlled outdoor areas.

It has been announced by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs that the end of the housing order will come into effect next week,” said Ronnie Wells, poultry chair, UFU.

“This positive news will be well received by our members however, it’s important that poultry and backyard keepers remain vigilant as migratory birds are still present here in Northern Ireland meaning the risk of AI has not disappeared. Therefore, the threat of disease should still be at the fore of everyone’s mind.

“For those who have housed birds during the last number of months, now is the time to prepare for birds returning back to the range from 2 May.

“I urge members to make sure that strict biosecurity measures are put in place and maintained. This includes regularly cleansing and disinfection of hard surfaces, fencing off ponds or standing water and the reintroduction of wild bird deterrents.

“When birds are released outdoors, all poultry and captive birdkeepers will need to continue taking extra biosecurity precautions. It is vital that everyone pays extra attention to cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles.

“Access should be limited to essential visitors only on sites, and workers need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures. All these biosecurity measures are equally as important for backyard keepers as well as poultry farmers.”

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