18 August 2018 | Online since 2003

2 March 2017


Dear Free Ranger

DAERA announced yesterday that the Avian Influenza (AI) Prevention Zone will remain in force until at least the end of April 2017. 

The DAERA press release says:
 “In light of the continuing risk across the UK and Europe, the Department has decided that a further zone should be declared lasting until the end of April.  However, based on expert and industry advice it was considered that it would be proportionate to amend the zone from 17 March to allow some birds to be let out under additional biosecurity mitigation measures, to protect our vital poultry industry while still minimising disease risk. If keepers are unable to comply with these additional biosecurity requirements, then they must continue to house or otherwise separate their birds from wild birds. In any event keepers will still have the option to house their birds – for many this will continue to be the easiest way to protect them from AI. 

While further guidance on the likely additional biosecurity requirements and how this will work will issue closer to the time, there are steps that keepers should consider taking now in order to make their range unattractive to wild birds prior to 17 March - it is vital that these activities start as soon as possible: 
Make your birds’ range unattractive to wild birds:

·         Net ponds and drain waterlogged areas of land.  If this isn’t possible, then can you fence them off from your birds so they cannot access it whilst ranging, or use an alternative paddock that doesn’t have access to water
·         Remove any feeders and water stations from the range, or ensure that they are covered sufficiently to restrict access by wild birds

·         Consider using decoy predators or other livestock (such as sheep or cattle) on the range, or allowing dogs to accompany you on foot patrols around the range. You could also consider bird scarers if their use is appropriate.
Further information will be available at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/avian-influenza-ai. The ban on gatherings of poultry, game birds and waterfowl also remains in force. “

Kind regards
Robert Gooch, CEO
British Free Range Egg Producers Association
Tel 07771 887311


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