19 July 2023
Birdkeepers in St Martin and the surrounding area are required to house their birds with immediate effect, following confirmed cases of avian influenza (bird flu) in a small flock of chickens, two of which died suddenly on Monday. The three remaining chickens have been humanely culled today.
A 3km radius protection zone, centred around a property in the Archirondel area, has been introduced, requiring, by law, keepers to house their birds.
In the zone, all domestic bird enclosures need to be completely covered with an impermeable and leak-proof roof, and the sides must be wild bird and vermin proof. Keepers in the protection zone must not move poultry (inside or outside of the zone), unless following the conditions set out in the general licence for the movement of carcasses or poultry eggs.
The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, has also declared a surveillance zone across the remainder of the Island, highly recommending that birds are housed and that additional biosecurity measures are taken.
The full rules and restrictions for both zones are available on www.gov.je/birdflu. A map will be published as soon as possible, and the States veterinary team will write to registered keepers to update them.
It is the first time such restrictions have been in place in Jersey since October 2022.
Deputy Renouf said: "Ongoing surveillance testing of wild birds in Jersey had not detected avian influenza this year, with the last positive being the flock of graylag geese in St Ouen back in November. It is, therefore, a surprise to hear the sudden news that the virus has reappeared here this summer.
"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.
"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 Government of Jersey's Public Health team have confirmed that the risk to the general public is considered to be very low.
Islanders who have poultry and are not registered are encouraged to register with Natural Environment; it is a legal requirement if you have 30 or more poultry. Keepers who are registered will get updates to help keep their birds safe.
Those who come across wild birds that have died suddenly and without an obvious explanation can report them to the Natural Environment team via the online form at www.gov.je/birdflu.
The form allows the user to pinpoint the exact location and to give details of species and numbers. However, birdkeepers must immediately report any suspicious symptoms of avian influenza in their own flocks to Natural Environment on 01534 441600.