The current housing ban, which is in place as a precautionary measure against the spread of avian influenza (bird flu), will be lifted on Friday 29 April 2022.

Removing this requirement to confine birds means that all poultry owners may allow their birds access to open areas and runs from 29 April.

The legislation requiring the precautionary confinement of birds was introduced on 22 November 2021 to mitigate the risk of avian influenza in poultry.

The Department of Agriculture announced on Tuesday 26 April that the legal requirement will be lifted.

"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 four weeks, reduced numbers of migratory waterfowl and increasing environmental temperatures and daylight hours," the Department of Agriculture said in a statement.


Howevr, the Department 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.

The Department emphasises that further enhanced biosecurity requirements that were introduced on 17 November, to ensure that poultry or other captive birds cannot come into contact with wild birds, remain in place.

This means 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 and restrictions on the assembly of live birds for the purposes of show or sale.

"Bird owners should continue to 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," it said.

Further information on enhanced biosecurity requirements can be found at this link.

Registering of birds

The Department also reminds all poultry owners, including those who keep only one or two birds, of their legal obligation to register their premises with the Department.

Guidance on how to register your poultry can be found here.