Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Backyard chickens are equally susceptible to bird flu as commercial flocks

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Though commercial chickens are of bigger concern, backyard chicken owners should practice the same biosecurity techniques to protect the birds, according to Extension Veterinarian Lew Strickland of the University Of Tennessee College Of Veterinary Medicine

Since wild birds are the main carriers of the disease, free-range chickens and backyard flocks that are outside for an unregulated amount of time, can easily become infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The Happy Chicken Coop said that backyard flocks are genetically no different from commercial chickens. Disease may spread faster in broiler houses because the birds are closer together, but illnesses work just the same in the bodies of backyard chickens.

The CDC recommends the following biosecurity measures; cages should be cleaned and kept free of rodents and bugs, food and water supplies should be kept inside and away from natural sources of water, and shoes should be cleaned before entering the areas where birds are kept.

Chicken owners should stay informed about the location of the bird flu and where it has spread. The Mississippi Flyway is thought to be the main source of the avian influenza spreading in the U.S., since all states that have had cases of the disease, including a case in a backyard flock in Alabama, have been located in the flyway zone.

Some states have already taken precautionary measures to keep poultry from different flocks from interacting in exhibitions. Privately selling birds is not prohibited, but chicken owners should be careful.

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