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Bird Flu Kills Chickens And Brings In Restrictions

Chickens at a St Martin home have been killed by avian influenza, causing a three-kilometre protection zone to be introduced with immediate effect.

Tests have confirmed two chickens had bird flu before dying, and three other chickens from the flock have been humanely culled.

A 3km 'protection zone' is now in place around the Archirondel area, with birdkeepers now required to house their flocks by law and keep them apart from wild birds.

All domestic bird enclosures need to be completely covered with a protective and leak-proof roof.

The movement of birds into and out of the area has also been banned as part of the measures to stem the outbreak.

The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, says it is a surprise to hear the news as bird flu had last been detected in a flock of graylag geese in St Ouen in November.

"Bird flu spreads when infected wild birds mix with domestic poultry, which can lead to mass mortalities in our flocks.

"That’s why we need all keepers in the protection zone to house their birds, and we’re recommending all keepers across the Island do the same too as a precautionary and preventative measure."

A surveillance zone has been introduced to the rest of the island and it is highly recommended that birds are housed and extra measures are taken to keep them safe.

"I urge keepers to take action to help reduce the chances of a larger outbreak.

"Good biosecurity measures are, as always, key to preventing the spread of viruses, and we’d encourage owners to use disinfectant baths to clean their footwear at the entrance to units. Domestic bird food, water, and bedding should be kept away from wild birds."

The risk to the public is very low, but islanders who find wild birds that have suddenly died without an obvious explanation are asked to report and not touch them.

It's the first time restrictions have been in place since an island-wide lockdown on flocks was lifted in October last year.

A map of the protection zone can be found here.

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