The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is urging poultry farmers to be cautious and to ensure that heightened biosecurity protocols are in place following several suspect non-notifiable avian influenza cases in the west of Northern Ireland.
UFU deputy president, David Brown said: “The UFU are aware of the suspect non-notifiable avian influenza cases that have been reported in the west of the country and we are monitoring the situation. It is a reminder that poultry and backyard keepers should be vigilant at all times. I urge them to review their biosecurity measures and business continuity plans immediately to protect their own flock and help safeguard the NI poultry industry.”
The UFU encourages producers to implement a number of heightened biosecurity protocols and to avail of DAERA’s services.
“To reduce the risk of infection in poultry, maintaining high levels of biosecurity and practicing good farm hygiene at all times is essential. This includes cleaning footwear before and after visiting birds, keeping your farm clean and tidy, regularly disinfecting hard surfaces, ensuring that rats and mice are controlled, keeping food and water in confined areas away from wild birds, and where possible keeping birds separate from wildlife using suitable fencing. All non-essential visits to poultry farms should also be avoided.
“It is important that poultry keepers make use of all the help and services that are available to them to protect their poultry business. I urge producers to make themselves familiar with DAERA’s guidance on good biosecurity and there is a text alert service which they can sign up to. Through this system they will receive immediate notifications if there is a disease outbreak. If producers have any suspicion of disease in their flock, they should contact their vet or local divisional veterinary office immediately,” said Brown.
To subscribe to the text alert service, text BIRDS to 67300.