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Netherlands begins to lift housing order

Free range hens

THE DUTCH government has ended its poultry housing order in five of the country’s 20 regions.

The obligation to keep free-range birds indoors has been in place since 22 October, a record in the country.

See also: Litter management and vaccination to control ILT outbreak in Northern Ireland

Parts of Overijssel, Gelderland, North Brabant and Limburg were able to let birds range from 19 June, broadly in the south east of the Netherlands.

They had recorded no new cases of avian influenza in poultry since April this year and no wild bird detections.

The government also took into account the risk based on historical data and the likelihood of an outbreak.

Risk assessment

Within the five regions where birds will once again be allowed to range, an estimated 81 farms keep free-range birds.

Housing orders can both be detrimental to bird welfare and farmers’ finances who face having the price of their egg downgraded to barn after a 12-week derogation period.

A weekly risk assessment will now occur to see if more parts of the country can lift restrictions.