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Bird Flu Is a Reminder For Back Yard Poultry Owners to Protect Their Birds By Practicing Good Biosecurity

Posted by Dr. Chrislyn Wood Nicholson, Poultry Health Specialist, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Animals Plants
Mar 27, 2015
Dr. Wood on set with Healthy Harry taping new biosecurity videos.
Dr. Wood on set with Healthy Harry taping new biosecurity videos.

Since December 2014, there have been several highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) confirmations in migratory wild birds, back yard flocks, captive wild birds and commercial poultry in several states along the Pacific, Mississippi and Central Flyways.  These HPAI virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick.  In fact, if back yard poultry flocks are exposed to these particular HPAI virus strains, they are highly contagious and cause bird death.  We are expecting that there will be more HPAI confirmations this spring as the bird migrations continue, so if you own or handle poultry, now is a great time to check your biosecurity practices.  You should follow good biosecurity at all times to help protect the birds’ health.  Your actions can make a difference!  Learn more here:

As part of good biosecurity, you should prevent contact between your birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through the state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number: 1-866-536-7593.  You also should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.   You are the best protection your birds have!  Learn more here:

What is biosecurity?  Biosecurity means taking some simple steps to keep your birds away from germs AND germs away from your birds.   If you follow good biosecurity, you will help ensure your birds remain healthy.

For backyard bird owners, there are 6 simple steps to biosecurity:

Commercial producers should follow biosecurity recommendations from their industry associations and the National Poultry Improvement Plan.

Want to learn more about practicing good biosecurity while being entertained?  Need to share information with 4H, FFA or school groups?  Here are links to a series of videos about biosecurity on YouTube:

Healthy Flocks Rock

Keep It Clean

Know Your Birds

Simple Steps to Keep Your Backyard Poultry Healthy

These videos will help you see biosecurity in action so you can feel confident you are taking the right steps to protect your backyard birds.

Category/Topic: Animals Plants