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Tips to avoid avian influenza

David Frame

All avian influenza spread through waterfowl basically, and, and this particular strain was one that we haven't had to deal with in the United States before. But it was spread down through the flyways and began infection on the eastern seaboard and worked its way west. And so this like all other strains are basically carried by waterfowl. And the interesting thing is the waterfowl can carry influenza strain to not show a lot of clinical signs with it. And so, even though it may not be lethal, necessarily to waterfowl, although some have died because of the strain, it's generally not as lethal to them as it is to chickens. And so once it gets into the chickens, it causes death and mortality there.

Nick Porath

There's a lot of people here in Utah that raise their own chickens in their backyards and things are there things that they can do to help minimize risks?

David Frame

So the best thing that poultry owners can do is make sure that they do not use any kind of open water sources such as ditches, canals, ponds to be able to water their birds from the other thing is don't keep mixed species flocks. Again, waterfowl are the natural host of these influenza viruses. And you're actually increasing your risk by doing that. So if you keep the chickens away from the water from contaminated water, you want to keep them in closed and out of direct contact with wild birds, if possible to put a solid roof over your chicken runs. So just in case there's ducks are something flying over, you don't get species directly into the pan. And then other than that, the only way that the virus is going to infect your birds is by being tracked in. You can track this virus in as well as wild birds or anything else. And it doesn't take much as a virus to cause a problem. During the COVID outbreak, we've learned a lot about personal biosecurity and things and we're used to washing our hands now and doing some other things that we didn't even think about before that these practices are all applicable for avian diseases as well as an industry for us humans. So just be sure you wash your hands before you go in and gather eggs or feature birds. And also I would recommend having a pair of dedicated footwear, something that you would wear only within your chicken coop and then you take those off before you leave. And so those biosecurity practices will pretty much help. One thing that you need to also remember that pets can track that in. So keep your your pets, your dogs away from the chickens. Another important thing to remember is do not buy chickens at swap meets, even your neighbors down the road if you don't know what the health status of the man is. Particularly at this time, it might be best to try to minimize any kind of purchases at all and if you do purchase birds, make sure you get them from NPIP which is National Poultry Improvement Plan, certified hatchery or farm store and our major Farm Stores in Utah are all they all get checks from NPIP certified hatchery so that's really not an issue.

Nicholas Porath is a Logan native and music lover. Having graduated from USU with a degree in broadcast journalism, it was while studying journalism that he found his niche and newfound love for radio. He first started out as an intern behind the scenes and eventually made his way to the production and control rooms where he worked as a fill-in host, as well as producer for numerous UPR programs including <i>Cropping Up, Access Utah, Behind the Headlines</i> and more. In 2023 he took on a new hurdle as UPR’s new Radio Broadcast Engineer. He still works as a programming producer and is a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers.