The Department of Agriculture has warned bird keepers about the “real and constant threat” of avian flu.
The disease is circulating across Britain and Europe with confirmed cases in wild birds in Northern Ireland.
The Department has classified the current avian flue threat level as moderate with high uncertainty.
The Chief Veterinary Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Robert Huey said: “If avian flu were to enter any flock, including backyard or hobby flocks, it would have a devastating effect on the poultry industry and would significantly impact international trade.”
He added: “Given the positive wild bird findings across various locations in Northern Ireland over recent months, and the start of winter migration, consistently high standards of biosecurity are essential.
“I encourage all keepers of poultry, including game birds and pet birds, whether you keep one bird or hundreds, to act now to carefully consider and improve biosecurity where possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
The Department has advised that flock keepers can protect their birds by:
Keeping the area where birds live clean
Controlling rats and mice
Cleaning footwear before and after visits
Placing feed and water in enclosed areas protected from wild birds
Removing spilled feed regularly
Putting fencing around outdoor areas
Avoiding keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species
Dr Huey stressed that bird keepers, with the exception of those who keep caged pet birds at home, must register and keep their details up to date on the DAERA Bird Register.
He added: “Bird keepers who have not yet registered their birds should do so immediately.”
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