Housing requirement now in place for avian influenza

24 May 2024

Agriculture Victoria has issued a housing requirement for all birds within the movement control zones around Meredith and Terang to minimise the spread of avian influenza virus detected at 2 poultry farms this week.

Under the housing requirement all poultry farmers, backyard flock and bird owners must house or keep their birds enclosed as practically as possible in cages or sheds.

Penalties apply for those who do not follow these restrictions.

Victoria’s Chief Veterinarian Graeme Cooke said the housing order had been supported by industry as a sensible step to take in light of the recent avian influenza detections.

‘Housing birds when practical, is an effective method of minimising direct contact with wild birds that can carry the disease with no apparent symptoms,’ he said.

‘The order will reduce the risk that more birds will contract avian influenza, however it will not eliminate the risk of spread.’

‘If you don’t have a building in which to house your birds, then efforts should be made to separate them and their food and drink from wild birds that may be carrying avian influenza. By using netting for example.’

Agriculture Victoria is responding to the detections at Meredith and Terang and the properties have been placed in quarantine.

Staff are on-the-ground to support the businesses and are working closely with industry to contain and eradicate the virus. Contact tracing is also underway to determine the source and spread of the infection.

Consumers are reminded that eggs and chicken purchased from the supermarket are safe to eat.

All poultry and bird owners across Victoria are reminded to follow best biosecurity practices such as keeping poultry sheds, yards, aviaries and equipment clean, and restricting contact between your poultry and wild birds.

Any suspicion of an emergency animal disease (EAD) should be immediately reported to the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

See the latest updates and see maps of the impacted areas.

Media contact: SBOC.publicinformation@agriculture.vic.gov.au