The Ulster Farmers’ Union is urging poultry farmers to be vigilant in light of the detection of Avian Influenza (AI) in a wild bird found in County Tipperary.
Following a Veterinary Risk Assessment by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the risk of an AI incursion in wild birds in Northern Ireland has now increased from low to medium as a result of this finding.
UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt has urged all poultry keepers, including backyard keepers, to review their biosecurity measures and business continuity plans now, as the risk level may well increase in the coming weeks.
He added: “Producers should familiarise themselves with DAERA’s guidance on good biosecurity and if you have any suspicion of disease within your flock you should contact your vet or the local DVO immediately.”
While findings in wild birds are not unexpected given the detection of HPAI H5N6 in wild birds in multiple locations in England since the start of January and in other European countries prior to that, it is a timely reminder for all bird keepers to remain vigilant.
“I would encourage producers to practise good farm hygiene and keep birds’ food and water in enclosed areas separate from wild birds wherever possible. Poultry keepers can also sign up to the Avian influenza text alert service to receive immediate notifications of a disease outbreak,” said Mr Chestnutt.
To subscribe text BIRDS to 67300. The UFU continue to monitor the situation closely.