Protect Backyard Chickens from Avian Flu

ifr150425–50
Protect Backyard Chickens from Avian Flu
Chet Utterback, Poultry Research Farm Manager - University of Illinois

More people than you might think are keeping chickens in their backyards. These birds, just as those grown commercially, are at risk to the H5N2 Avian Influenza virus. Todd Gleason has more on why and what keepers of backyard flocks can do to protect their birds.

Turkeys and chickens along the Mississippi River flyway…

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Turkeys and chickens along the Mississippi River flyway in the Midwest are at risk to catching the flu every year. This year a new highly contagious version of the virus called H5N2 has developed. It’s nasty and a bird killer. This is why the U.S. government is taking so much care to control its spread. The farm manager of the University of Illinois’ poultry research facilities, Chet Utterback, says commercial flocks aren’t the only birds at risk.

Utterback :22 …where there are any water fowl what-so-ever.

Quote Summary - I would encourage everyone, whether you have two chickens or twenty chickens or two-hundred chickens, or two-hundred-thousand chickens or two-million chickens to be very, very diligent in staying away from areas where there are Canadian geese nesting, where there are any water fowl what-so-ever.
Migratory birds of all types stop along their routes at water sources. It doesn’t matter much how busy the area is, if there is a pond there are likely to be at least few Canadian Geese around. They could be carrying the flu, and it could be the H5N2 version and you could walk right through it… though that, to this point, wouldn’t be a problem for your personal health… it could be a load of problem for your birds.

Utterback :27 …with the potential to affect other birds.

Quote Summary - The biggest thing people need to be aware of is how many viruses are there. According to a microbiologist at Penn State involved with the outbreak in 2006, in one gram positive sample of manure from a wild waterfowl, about the size of a dime, there can be more than one-million flu viruses with the potential to affect other birds.
The point is bio-security measures need to be taken to protect backyard flocks as well as commercially raised birds. It’s a big word, but in this case simply means not wearing the same clothes or shoes into the coop that you might have just been wearing at the shopping center, or the pond, or any place wild waterfowl gather.