Free-range pigs and poultry
Animals enjoy being able to spend time outdoors in good weather. However, keeping pigs and poultry outdoors is restricted due to easily transmitted and fatal animal diseases. Some contagious animal diseases can also be dangerous to humans.
Keeping animals outdoors
African swine fever, a highly contagious and deadly disease of pigs, has been detected in domestic and wild pigs in Central and Southern Europe and Russia. No infected pigs have been found yet in Finland. However, wild boars can travel great distances and could introduce the disease to Finland. There is a risk that these boars could transmit the disease to domestic pigs or wild boars living in captivity in Finland. Due to this, there must be absolutely no contact between domestic and wild pigs, which is why keeping pigs outdoors is forbidden without the necessary preventative measures in place year round. This requirement also applies to miniature and micro pigs and other pigs kept as pets.
Migratory birds arriving in Finland in the spring can carry the easily transmitted avian influenza. If these birds come into contact with free-range poultry, there is a risk that the virus is transmitted to the poultry, causing an outbreak. Because of this, poultry cannot be kept outdoors during the migrating season of birds. The ban is in force from the beginning of March until the end of May. During this time, poultry must either be kept completely indoors or in an outdoor run fenced with small hole size chicken wire and a roof made of solid or small hole size wire mesh. This requirement must be observed even if you only have one chicken.
If you want to keep pigs – either as pets or to produce organic pork – outdoors, check the instructions issued by the Finnish Food Authority for the requirements for the pen. Build the fence according to the instructions.
Notify the municipal veterinarian that you keep pigs outdoors. The municipal veterinarian will then come and inspect the pen and fencing.
If you want to let your poultry go outdoors, check the instructions issued by the Finnish Food Authority for the requirements for the poultry run. Build the poultry run according to the instructions.
Notify the municipal veterinarian that you keep poultry outdoors.
Fill in the reporting form of the Finnish Food Authority and send it to your local municipal veterinarian. Links to the forms are provided at the bottom of this page.
Remember to register as an animal keeper with your local rural business authority before getting a pig or poultry of any type.
Frequently asked questions
If you suspect that pigs or poultry are being kept outdoors in an inappropriate enclosure, contact your local municipal veterinarian. The municipal veterinarian can inspect the enclosure for compliance with the relevant regulations. If the municipal veterinarian finds that the enclosure does not meet the requirements, they can order the animals to be kept indoors until the enclosure meets the requirements.
A Regional State Administrative Agency can also issue an order to keep animals indoors and, if necessary, impose penalties. Regional State Administrative Agencies coordinate enclosure inspections carried out by municipal veterinarians and communicates instructions issued by the Finnish Food Authority to the public.