Bird flu housing order to be lifted
A bird flu prevention order to keep poultry indoors in Northern Ireland is to be lifted on May 2.
Poultry and other captive birds will no longer need to be housed but as infection may still be circulating in the environment, scrupulous standards of biosecurity remain essential.
This includes a ban on poultry gatherings.
Last week, the Balmoral Show announced it had cancelled its poultry and egg classes because of continued preventative measures.
An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was brought in last November after a number of cases were identified in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs advised anyone planning to allow birds outside to prepare their grounds.
This includes cleansing and disinfecting hard surfaces, fencing off ponds or standing water and reintroducing wild bird deterrents.
Migratory wild birds carry the disease.
The 2021/22 aviation flu outbreak has been described by the department as the worst ever in these islands.
In Northern Ireland, six commercial and backyard flocks were culled after the detection of the highly infectious strain, HPAI H5N1.
Six outbreaks were also confirmed in the Republic, mostly in County Monaghan, and one in County Cavan.
In Great Britain, there have been 109 outbreaks since the first was detected in October 2021.
Hundreds of thousands of birds have been culled in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease, which usually proves fatal and poses a serious risk to the commercial poultry trade.