AIPZ - Bird Gatherings, Pigeons and Birds of Prey

The latest information on bird gatherings, pigeons and birds of prey can be found below.

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ)

An AIPZ came into force in Northern Ireland on 17 November 2021. This was extended to include housing measures across the UK on 29 November 2021.

This means that, in addition to the mandatory enhanced biosecurity measures of the AIPZ, it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors or otherwise separate from wild birds in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease. This applies if you keep pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard or hobby flock.

These mandatory biosecurity measures are to help prevent the spread of the disease from wild birds, or another source, to poultry, including:

  • a ban on poultry gatherings;
  • a requirement that poultry or other captive birds are provided with food and water to which wild birds have no access;
  • avoiding transfer of contamination between premises by cleansing and disinfecting equipment, vehicles and footwear;
  • separating domestic waterfowl (ducks and geese) from other domestic species; and,
  • reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept.

Under these requirements, all visits to poultry premises should be limited to those deemed essential.

For help complying with the requirements of the AIPZ, please see our biosecurity advice and if you keep poultry or captive birds, please follow our Biosecurity Guidance and use our Biosecurity Checklist.

For further details on the requirements within the AIPZ, see the Declaration here.

Full details of measures required within the AIPZ can be found in the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Guidance and Q&A.

The introduction of mandatory housing as a further preventative measure within the AIPZ comes following the rise in wild bird and poultry cases across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. It follows a risk assessment containing the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice.

DAERA press releases can also be viewed here and here.

For further details, please see the links below:

Bird Gatherings

Bird gatherings of any type are not permitted within any Temporary Control Zone, Protection Zone or Surveillance Zone. Outside of these areas bird gatherings are only permitted if licenced. Poultry gatherings are not permitted in Northern Ireland as part of the measures of the AIPZ.

The bird gatherings General Licence in effect from midday on 20 May 2021, has now been revoked.

A new General Licence for bird gatherings that are permitted within the AIPZ is available here.

Bird gatherings must meet all the requirements of the licence and DAERA must be notified at least 3 days in advance.

The Department will continue to monitor the avian influenza situation.

Pigeons or birds of prey

If your birds are within a disease control zone, make sure you check the restrictions applicable to that Zone   

An AIPZ including housing measures is in force. Pigeons and birds of prey must be housed or where not possible kept in a fully netted ideally covered areas which keeps kept birds separate from wild birds and minimises contact with wild bird faeces, feathers etc.

You can exercise and train pigeons or fly birds of prey, including for pest control, but they should avoid direct contact with wild birds.

Pigeon lofts should not be left open for the birds to come and go as they please.

Keep a close watch on the health of your birds.

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