Florham Park, NJ (Vocus) June 2, 2010
Raising chickens in the backyard is growing more popular as Americans seek a direct connection to their food. But as the number of backyard chickens increases, so does the need to educate owners about keeping their flocks healthy. That’s why the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (USDA/APHIS) Biosecurity for Birds campaign is renewing its efforts to provide concise and helpful tips to prevent the spread of infectious bird diseases such as avian influenza (AI).
Whether you raise poultry for meat and eggs or because you want to show your birds at fairs and festivals; whether you have a big flock or a few hens, keeping them healthy is a priority. Give the birds sufficient space, keep their area clean, keep food and water covered and change them daily. It also is important to keep predators away from your birds and minimize the contact your poultry has with wild birds.
In some countries, high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) or AI and END are of serious concern to flock owners. Both can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl as well as a variety of wild birds. HPAI can quickly spread through direct contact with infected waterfowl, infected poultry, or water or feed that has been contaminated with the virus. It can strike birds quickly without any signs of infection and spread rapidly.
Low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) sometimes breaks out in North America, and the worry is that it could mutate to HPAI. That’s why taking precautions against infectious diseases is a good idea for bird health.
USDA/APHIS offers tips to owners on how to keep their birds healthy and free of disease:
For more information, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/birdbiosecurity/
Media representatives may contact Pam Goldstein at pgoldstein(at)diversitymc(dot)com 973-377-0300, Ext. 14.