With the concern of Avian Influenza, we would like to offer suggestions for protecting your flock and address some concerns you may have.
- As of 2015-2016 Avian Influenza has not yet been reported in Ohio.
- Meyer Hatchery is still able to confidently ship nationwide.
- In 2015 certain states had restrictions on live poultry showing, auctions, and swap meets. Check with your Show Officials to keep up to date on show schedules. If bans should arise again, keep in mind it is a great time to still raise birds as if you were presenting them for exhibition to gain experience this year, for the next year.
- We are NPIP Certified (read below to find out more).
What is Avian Influenza (a.k.a. A.I., Bird Flu)?
Avian Influenza, commonly known as the "bird flu", is an infectious disease found in birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. No new cases have been reported since June 17th, 2015. However, members of the poultry industry are concerned about the potential for new outbreaks during fall waterfowl migration.
The C.D.C. reported in May 2015 that the "Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 infections have been reported in U.S. domestic poultry (backyard and commercial flocks), captive wild birds, and wild birds. HPAI H5 detection began in December 2014 and have continued into April 2015. USDA is reporting that H5 viruses have been detected in birds in 18 U.S. States; 13 states have experienced outbreaks in poultry flocks and 5 states have detected H5 in wild birds." [ Quote from CDC http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h5/index.htm] It was also reported the H5N8 strain was diagnosed in an Indiana Flock. Since May 2015, 21 cases had been reported in June, the last report being January 15th, 2016 in Dubois County, IN (suspected the low pathogenic H7 LPA mutated to H7N8). The USDA has been very aggressive in research, prevention, and containment of A.I. in partnership to those who raise poultry. Being vigilant with strict bio-security - your best defense is a good offense.
Birds infected with the disease sometimes show symptoms and some die within 48 hours.
Lethargy (lack of energy)
Sudden death (without symptom)
Discolored combs, wattles, and legs (hemorrhaging/purple/black)
Swollen eyelids, wattles, hocks, comb, or head.
Symptoms (LPAI - Low Pathogenic)
Most cases no signs of infection or minor symptoms. [Indiana News Room - USDA]
If you suspected your birds are infected, call your local cooperative extension office, your veterinarian, state veterinarian or state animal/poultry diagnostic laboratory. Or call USDA toll-free at 1-866-536-7593 and they will put you in touch with a local contact who can help you.
*Concerned for your day old chicks? Please reference our articles on Chick Arrival.
So, what does the mean for Meyer Hatchery?
At this time, Ohio is not a state that has a reported case of A.I.
We take the threat of Avian Influenza and any disease very seriously all year round. We are part of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) and we regularly test for and are free of Salmonella and Pullorum-Typhoid; we also monitor and are free from H5/H7 Avian Influenza. (For more information on NPIP click the following link for the USDA publication NPIP: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/content/printable_verison/HelpingYouPoultryBreeder-PA1708-FinalJuly09.pdf).
We also take every precaution possible in following strict bio-security procedures. Our breeding flocks are floor raised inside, meaning they do not have access to the outdoors. We have designed our barns to raise happy and healthy flocks, everything from lighting, ventilation, to providing a spacious area for individual breeds to roam, eat, and drink was implemented for their benefit.
This does not go to say that other flock owners who were affected did not follow proper procedures in keeping their flocks protected. While the source of 2015's outbreak is believed to be linked to migratory waterfowl, how flocks are infected has not yet been specifically identified. Research on the outbreak does point to some lapses in biosecurity on infected farms, though that was not true in all cases. We are proceeding with continued bio-security, from securing our breeders to educating staff on proper safety/bio-security procedures.
What does this mean for you?
You can be confident in ordering from our hatchery. TAlso, the good news is the CDC considers the risk of human infection of all the Avian Influenza strains reported in the U.S. to be low. The unfortunate news is that strains of reported A.I. are highly contagious within bird species. This means that you should take every possible step in ensuring bio-security not only in the flock's ranging/coop area but also on your entire property.
Whether or not you are in a state where Avian Influenza has been reported, taking these preventative measures may save your flock.
- Restrict visitors to your coop (human and wild bird visitors alike).
- Remove wild bird feeders.
- Secure your flock's feed.
- Prevent and remove wild bird nests in barns and coop areas.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling birds.
- Use clean/designated attire and equipment for cleaning the coop.
- Disinfected Boots
The facts are that Avian Influenza continues to be a concern and the impact will not only be felt by flock owners but also everyday consumers. It is important to be aware of the current status in your area and take every step possible to keep your flock safe. Continue to enjoy raising poultry as a well-informed caretaker, keeping safety in mind.
Bio-security Self Assessment Test
What is Avian Influenza
USDA NPIP Information
Bio-Security for Birds USDA Website
USDA Brochure - Protecting Your Flock (Includes Pictures)
Indiana USDA Newsroom Article (January 17th)