How to protect poultry flocks from avian influenza – Farm and Dairy

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Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been appearing in wild birds and commercial poultry throughout the East Coast and Midwest. It can cause severe disease and high mortality in infected poultry. Certain virus strains can affect multiple internal organs with mortality up to 90% to 100% in chickens, according to Centers for Disease Control data.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service provides up-to-date information about the detection of avian influenza in commercial and backyard flocks, as well as, detections in wild birds.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza is rapidly fatal for poultry, so the best way to protect domestic flocks is by being mindful and using biosecurity.
The sudden onset of highly pathogenic avian influenza and high death rates are common in chickens, turkeys, pheasants and quail.
Symptoms range from one poultry species to the next. Detecting highly pathogenic avian influenza early is crucial to limit its spread.
Early signs of highly pathogenic avian influenza in chickens include signs of depression and ruffled feathers in egg layers. Next, they experience respiratory distress and extreme diarrhea, followed by rapid death. They may also experience swelling around the head, neck and eyes, and have purple discoloration on their heads and legs.
Other poultry species can experience tremors, twisted necks, paralyzed wings and laying down. Turkeys typically appear quiet and depressed, lay down more and have swelling around their eyes. Ducks and geese are more resistant and generally have a lower instance of symptoms and death, but they can carry the virus and spread it to other birds.
Protecting your flock during an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza can be done by isolating your flock, keeping your poultry housing clean and avoiding the accidental introduction of disease.
Don’t attract wild birds. Wild birds infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza can transmit the disease to your poultry flock. To avoid interactions with wild birds:
Clean poultry housing.
Be careful taking birds to sales and shows.
Avoid accidental exposure.
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