On, Wednesday February 9, 2022 it was confirmed and announced by The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, that a case of High Path Avian Influenza was confirmed on a Commercial Turkey Farm, in Dubois County, Indiana. This is the first case of HPAI in commercial Poultry since 2020. So now what?!
What is Avian Influenza?
In short it is the bird flu. Hi Path Avian Influenza is a strain that is spread more rapidly, and birds have a higher death rate. To read all about Avian Influenza I recommend reading this fact sheet by the USDA.
AI is nothing new, it has been around for a very long time. High Path AI, outbreaks continue to be a problem in Wild and Commercial birds in Large Portions of Europe and other countries. For example; France, Germany, Poland, England, Austria, and Slovokia as well as the Netherlands, Maldova, South Korea, Burkina Faso(West Africa), Nova Scotia, to name a few.
How Do Birds Get Avian Influenza?
- Infected birds shed the influenza virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces.
- Birds may become infected with avian influenza virus through direct contact with contagious waterfowl or other infected poultry, or through indirect contact with contaminated surfaces such as dirt, cages, or materials like feed and water.
- Rodents and insects may also physically carry the virus around coops.
What to Look for
Some of the Symptoms of Avian Influenza are as follows: Decreased Water Consumption, sudden higher than Normal Mortality, the birds become very quiet and not moving around. Loss of Egg Production and soft-shelled eggs, diarrhea, dark heads and or skin and nasal discharge.
What to Do – The Basics Broken Down
- Limit or Stop Visitors to your premise where you have your flock. We don’t recommend allowing any visitors to handle your flocks right now.
- Wash! Wash your hands before and after visiting with your birds.
- Use one set of shoes just for your flock care and premises or use disposable boot covers. Dollar Tree carries them. Don’t wear your shoes to the feed stores or farm stores.
- Ideally you would use clothing just for flock care. If that is not an option, wash them regularly but we recommend washing them in your washer with no other clothing.
- Be aware of wild birds especially waterfowl. Recommend taking down bird feeders and limit free ranging. If you can provide a covered run that will limit the contact of wild birds right now while we are in this pandemic.
- Use a foot bath. What is this? Basically, provide a brush and bucket with a disinfectant solution. Be sure to change it regularly when dirty. We use several here on the farm. Our favorites are Oxine, Tex-Trol and PI Quat. For our foot bath we use a foot pan powder – Traffic C.O.P. First State Vet Supply has many of these for purchase, see here
- Don’t buy used tools and equipment or coops, never. You just don’t know what diseases or germs are on it or what their birds carry.
- Buy birds from inspected flocks, NPIP with subcategories. Support farms who take the time, effort and expense to do this extra precaution. Sugar Feather Farm does this and also other measures to ensure bird health: Salmonella tested, AI tested, Pullorum and Vaccinate for Mareks Disease.
- Keep your birds healthy! Use preventatives for immune boosting your birds. Our favorites are Oregano Oil, Turmeric and Probiotics. A good balanced nutritious feed. These products help build natural immunity so our birds can fight off sickness and build some resistance.
- Research and educate yourself – the USDA has a program called Defend the Flock, check it out.
Understanding and prevention will help with this unsettling news. Need help with how to implement these practices? Let the Fowl Guru help with a consultation. If your birds are showing any signs of sickness, we always recommend seeking a Vets Advice, but Peter Brown, The Chicken Doc is here to help if birds have symptoms and can offer quick ideas and solutions.
Nicolle, aka The Fowl Guru, has been raising animals for over 20 years, and a self-trained fowl expert. She is one of the founders and owners of Sugar Feather Farm LLC, mother of 5 children and consultant for Civil Engineering firms. Nicolle is a Certified Vermont Master Composter and volunteer for several charity organizations. Nicolle offers consultations and mentorships to fowl enthusiasts who have concerns or questions.
Sugar Feather Farms LLC are producers of this article, and all pictures and information are copyrighted information and not to be used without permission from Sugar Feather Farm.
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