A “lockdown” is being introduced for birds following a number of cases of avian influenza.
Chief veterinary officers have agreed to introduce new measures aimed at ensuring poultry and captive birds should be kept indoors.
The significant move is being introduced from 14th December, making it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict bio-security measures.
Public health advice is that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk.
It does not affect the consumption of poultry products including eggs.
Bird keepers are being advised to use the next 11 days to prepare for new housing measures, and take steps to safeguard animal welfare, consult their vet and where necessary put up additional housing.