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Researcher urges caution for backyard poultry flocks

A USDA researcher says hobbyists and others with backyard poultry flocks need to do what they can to protect their birds from avian influenza.

Dr. Julianna Lenoch with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service tells Brownfield the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain can be transmitted from wild migratory birds and can affect the health of any sized flock. “The hobbyist and those who might have just hens in the back yard, please be careful. Don’t transmit anything back and forth and just use some precautions to protect birds.”

Lenoch says there are many simple precautions all poultry producers can take to minimize the spread of avian influenza. “Wash your hands. Don’t introduce new birds that you don’t know where they came from, and use common sense precautions on, you know, if you’ve got dirt on your boots, please clean your boots off before you get into the introduction or movement of anything into a backyard flock.”

Lenoch says the APHIS website also has information poultry producers can use to reduce the risk of infection.  The virus can be carried on clothing and shoes and can cause a drop in egg production and death in birds.

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