The Chief Veterinary Officer has announced that mandatory housing measures for poultry and captive birds, which were introduced across England to help stop the spread of bird flu, will be lifted from 00:01 on Tuesday 18 April 2023, but scrupulous standards of biosecurity remain essential. The measures in Wales will be lifted at the same time.
Following ongoing monitoring using the latest scientific evidence and a robust risk assessment, bird flu risk levels have been reduced meaning poultry and other captive birds will no longer need to be housed and can be kept outside, unless they are in a protection zone or captive bird monitoring controlled zone.
The decision means that from 18 April, eggs laid by hens with access to outside range areas can return to being marketed as ‘Free-Range’ eggs.
Those who intend to allow their birds outside 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.