New poultry housing rules will come into force throughout the UK on Monday, December 14, giving keepers 10 days to prepare, according to NFU Cymru.

The rules were announced by the Welsh government, along with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Scottish government.

Commenting on this, Dafydd Jarrett, NFU Cymru policy adviser, said: “Due to a number of confirmed Avian Influenza cases in England and a small number of wild birds infected with the disease in Wales, this has necessitated the introduction of the new housing measures.

“Government vets and epidemiological experts have decided this is the best further option to protect the UK’s poultry flock.

Although as of today [Friday December 4], there have been no Avian Influenza cases in domestic birds in Wales, two of the outbreaks in England have been close to the England/Wales border.

“As we reach the peak period of wild bird migration from the east into Wales, there is also the possibility of more wild bird cases.

“Giving poultry keepers notice of these new measures will at least allow them time to prepare and implement them to the best of their ability.

“This is of particular importance to Wales with our high numbers of free-range poultry units

These new measures mean that every poultry keeper, whether you have one hen in the garden or a large poultry business, must house their birds indoors. Everyone with poultry needs to take these measures seriously.

“Vigilance continues to be important and all poultry keepers should report any signs of disease in their birds at the earliest opportunity,” Jarrett concluded.