NFU Cymru welcomes lifting of poultry housing measures

Welsh agricultural union NFU Cymru has welcomed the lifting of poultry housing measures for birds in Wales.

The lifting of restrictions on May 2 means poultry farmers can once again give their free-range birds access to the outdoors. The housing measures had been put in place by the government in response to the worst outbreak of bird flu (AI) in the UK, with more than 100 cases of the disease reported in recent months.

While the risk of AI has been reduced to allow free-roaming birds outdoors, the UK’s chief veterinarians have said enhanced biosecurity requirements will remain in place to keep infection at bay.

NFU Cymru Poultry representative Richard Williams said: “The announcement this week of the lifting of housing restrictions has been a huge relief to poultry farmers across the UK, particularly here in Wales. , where such a large proportion of our eggs come from free-range farming.

“The industry has worked incredibly hard to minimize the threat of AI for several months, but it is clear that we all need to remain vigilant and continue to apply enhanced biosecurity measures to ensure the level of risk does not increase. again. It is vital that all poultry farmers, whether our members with large numbers of birds or smaller backyard farmers, continue to follow government advice and protect the health of the flock. national.

“NFU Cymru is working with partners across the industry to examine future solutions to limit the impact of AI on the industry, given that it has become a frequent problem at the end of the fall and winter.

“While this week’s announcement is of course good news, it is just one of the many challenges currently facing our poultry farmers, including rising costs of feed, energy, transportation and labor that continue to have a very real impact on the sector.”

Poultry and other captive birds no longer need to be housed, unless they are in a protection zone, and are allowed to remain outside. Although the risk of avian influenza has been reduced to “medium” for premises with poor biosecurity, the enhanced biosecurity requirements that were introduced as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will remain in effect. because the infection can still circulate in the environment for several more weeks. All gatherings of poultry will remain prohibited.

The Welsh Government encourages all farmers to register their flocks with the Animal and Plant Health Agency. For poultry, this is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds (poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeons (raised for meat), partridges, quails , guinea fowl and pheasants). Registering means they will be able to contact you with information or actions needed if an outbreak occurs near you.