Cyndi's Two Cents

Biosecurity is for the birds


The official start of Spring is days away and Easter is right around the corner. Days are longer, hyacinths and narcissus are blooming, and the grass is greening up in pastures and yards. It is my favorite time of the year!

It is during this time of the year that many consider either starting or adding to an already existing backyard poultry flock. It goes without saying that you can get sick from “kissing your chickens” or touching them, then touching your mouth, without first washing your hands. You can become infected with Salmonella or Campylobacter if you put your hands or other things that have been in contact with your birds in your mouth.

What is the first thing a 4-year- old child does when he or she picks up a baby duck? You guessed it, they put their open mouth on it and once they put that duck down, those chubby little fingers are going in their mouth.

Over one thousand people get sick from contact with backyard poultry every year. The head count last year was 1,072. Don’t be a statistic and don’t let your child be a statistic.

Whether you are adding chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, or other birds, it is also important to make biosecurity a priority to protect your flock from diseases like Avian Influenza which is caused by an influenza type A virus that can infect poultry. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a highly contagious and often fatal disease of poultry.

One of the most important ways to protect your flock is to prevent contact with wild birds, especially waterfowl, which often carry and spread HPAI. Do what you can to deter those wild birds from coming near your flock by reducing availability and access of food and water and nesting areas for those wild birds. Be sure you do not have holes in roofs, screens or walls of your barn or coop where wild birds might make contact. Restricting visitor access to your birds is another way to keep your birds from getting sick.

Another good prevention practice is to refrain from visiting other poultry production locations (big or small) and if you do visit another farm where there is poultry, be sure to clean and disinfect the wheels of your vehicle and any equipment you may have purchased or borrowed from another poultry farm.

Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling your birds. Do not go into the barn or coop where your birds are kept with shoes that have been where other birds live.

If you notice changes in your flock’s behavior, take note. If they are quieter (or should I say less noisy for some) than usual, there is a decrease in egg production, if there is an increase in death loss, or they are not eating or drinking as before, you should contact your veterinarian.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Stay Up to Date

Subscribe for our newsletter today and receive relevant news straight to your inbox!

Brownfield Ag News