The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has confirmed that the housing measures which were introduced in November, 2022, to help stop the spread of avian influenza (bird flu) were lifted on Tuesday, April 18.

Poultry and other captive birds no longer need to be housed and are allowed to be kept outside.

However, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone mandatory biosecurity measures will remain in force for all birds and all poultry gatherings remain banned.

Speaking ahead of the change, a DAERA spokesperson said: “Those who intend to allow their birds outside after April 18 are advised to use the upcoming days to prepare their outside areas for the release of their birds.

“This will include cleansing and disinfection of hard surfaces, fencing off ponds or standing water and reintroduction of wild bird deterrents.

“Excellent biosecurity remains the best defence for reducing the risk of transmission of avian influenza to poultry or other captive birds and it is vital that this remains a regular and instinctive part of all bird-keepers routines.

“More information on biosecurity and a self-assessment tool to aid flock keepers in the review of their biosecurity arrangements is available at”