Above: Bird gatherings were banned in England, Scotland and Wales after the general licence was revoked on November 11, 2020. In NI, the general licence was revoked on December 1, 2020

 

MARCH 31 WILL be the last day when poultry and other captive birds will need to be housed indoors as a requirement of DEFRA’s Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ).

The latest situation as of March 19, and announced on the England, Scotland and Wales government websites, was that the risk of avian flu to both wild and captive birds has reduced to “medium”.

Provided that there are no new significant cases of bird flu before the end of March, the housing measures, which were implemented at the end of last year, are due to be relaxed on March 31. As we went to press, the housing restrictions remained in place in Northern Ireland.

But the relaxation of measures does not alter the rules on bird gatherings, which are still prohibited. Bird gatherings were banned in England, Scotland and Wales after the general licence was revoked on November 11, 2020. In Northern Ireland, the bird gatherings general licence was revoked on December 1, 2020.

According to DEFRA, bird gatherings include (but are not limited to) bird fairs, markets, shows, sales, exhibitions, vehicles used to transport live birds where the birds are brought together from multiple premises and some premises used for dealing or internet sales.

“All other biosecurity measures in the AIPZ remain in force until further notice and are a legal requirement for all birdkeepers… (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock),” read the DEFRA statement.

For further information on biosecurity or how to prepare outside areas for your birds, visit: www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

IF YOU discover dead wild swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, report them to the DEFRA helpline (call 03459 33 55 77 and select option 7).