WAHINGTON STATE – The Washington State Department of Agriculture is warning bird feeders, farmers and hobby chicken owners about the potential threat of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus, also known as the bird flu.
According to the World Health Organization for Animal Health reports show a high number of bird flu cases spreading across several countries. And while the Avian virus has not made it to the U.S at this time, experts say it’s important to stay proactive.
The bird flu is mostly found among wildlife birds and is not known to pose a threat to humans, however, when spread to domestic birds like chickens it has the potential to wipe out entire flocks.
“Do as much as you can to keep your poultry separated from wild waterfowl, if your chickens are not protected from wild waterfowl they are at risk for contracting Avian Influenza from wild carriers,” said Karla Salp from the Washington Department of Agriculture.
According to Salp it’s also important to learn about what good biosecurity practices are, “so those can be things like not working with chickens when they are sick or you are sick. Having clothing that is specifically only used for working with your poultry. And monitoring your flock to see if you notice any health issues,” said Salp.
Salp also says if you notice a couple of sick birds call your veterinarian, but if a large number of your poultry are dying it’s important to reach out to the state’s Department of Agriculture who will come out and take a look at what is happening.
To learn more about the bird flu and how to prevent the spread of it the Washington State Department of Agriculture is holding a Defend the Flock free seminar on February 23rd. To register for the event go to: Webex Events