Avian Influenza: Northern Ireland poultry keepers must remain vigilant, says Ulster Farmers' Union

Poultry farmers and backyard keepers need to ensure they have strict biosecurity measures in place following DAERA’s initial confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Farmers’ Union has said.

UFU deputy president, John McLenaghan, commented: “It is concerning that the detection of AI has been found this early in the season in County Down. To prevent the disease from spreading and to protect farm businesses and the entire NI poultry industry, biosecurity is crucial. Our poultry farmers implemented excellent biosecurity last season, helping to prevent the spread of the disease and I urge all poultry and backyard keepers to continue maintaining high standards of biosecurity and to practice good farm hygiene at all times.

“It is important that poultry keepers remain vigilant and keep a close eye on flocks for any AI symptoms. If producers suspect disease, they should contact their vet or local divisional veterinary office immediately.”

The registration of all birds in NI is key to controlling the disease.

The registration of all birds in NI is key to controlling the disease.

“We all have a part to play in protecting our industry. I cannot stress how important it is that all backyard keepers, regardless of how many birds are residing on their premises, even if it is one hen, as well as poultry farmers, ensure that their flock is registered with DAERA,” Mr McLenaghan added.

"This includes hens kept in gardens. I encourage all producers to make themselves familiar with DAERA’s biosecurity self-assessment checklist and text alert service. It's vital that compliance with the rules is adhered to by everyone,” he concluded.

To register your flock, visit the following link, https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/bird-registration-form