Producers take extra steps to keep flocks healthy

The continued spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza has many poultry producers making changes to prevent the spread of the disease.

Val Nasir raises chickens for Perdue Farms in Maryland.  “We have separate boots for every single chicken house that we have,” she says. “As soon as you walk into our anteroom, you’re going to take off the shoes that you’re wearing, and you’re going put on the boots that go into those chicken house.   You’re going to walk into the chicken house and only the chicken house with those boots.”

Mike Levengood, Perdue’s chief animal care officer, says the company does an HPAI risk assessment for every farm.  “It gives us ideas of how we could add things to help farmers lower their risk score,” he says.

He tells Brownfield growers like Val are taking extra steps to keep the birds and the farms safe, which has been a shift in recent years. “Prior to 2014, we really struggled with farmers to believe it could happen to them,” he says. “And now again, this new epidemic that’s hit us with high path, we really haven’t had to push farmers, they’re already worried about it.”

Nasir says her farm has incorporated other practices to keep their flock healthy. “Washing our cars, being careful with where we go outside, and just keeping up with the news,” she says.  “Perdue has been great about keeping us in constant contact with what’s going on and if it’s close to us.”

In the last 30 days, 94 cases of HPAI have been confirmed in 26 states.

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