Migratory birds could be off course this year due to the severe weather in the Eastern Northern Pacific and Atlantic. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma destroyed food sources on migratory paths and may have blown some flocks off their migratory routes.
Migratory birds carry diseases such as avian influenza (AI), which spreads quickly by direct bird-to-bird contact. APHIS suggests the following to protect birds regardless of location.
- Keep Visitors to a Minimum: Limit who and what goes in and out of your chicken coop and be mindful of anything that could bring in damaging disease. Keep records of who is on the farm or in the coop.
- Wash Hands and Change Clothes: In addition to potentially spreading disease from farm to farm or bird to bird, you can also spread germs such as Salmonella that can impact human health. So, make sure to wash your hands before and after working with birds. Also, wear proper protective clothing.
- Clean and Disinfect Tools and Equipment: Anything that comes into the farm or coop needs to be properly cleaned and disinfected. Before allowing vehicles, tools or equipment (including egg flats and bird cases) to leave the farm, make sure they are cleaned and disinfected to not transport potential disease.
- Keep a Close Eye on Your Birds: Sick poultry show many of the same signs that sick people do, chiefly lethargy. Early detection of avian flu or other infectious disease helps keep a small problem from becoming a significant crisis.
- Communicate Early and Often: Communicate with USDA-APHIS or your state animal health officials if you have questions or concerns about the health of your birds.
For more resources to learn about and apply best biosecurity practices, visit Defend the Flock.