Thursday, April 2, 2015

Avian Influenza

We recently received this notice from our local 4H group. 
It sounds pretty ominous.
Hopefully it will be short lived in our area. 
The interesting thing is that a quick internet search shows 
no other reports of this highly 
contagious (for birds not humans) bird flu. Weird.



Avian Influenza Reported in a Captive Gyrfalcon from Columbia Falls

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in a gyrfalcon from Columbia Falls. This is the first case of HPAI reported in the state.
No human health issues have been reported for this strain, to date, and no mortalities in domestic poultry in Montana have been detected.

Key facts about Avian Influenza:

  • Avian influenza (AI) is an infectious viral disease of birds that can cause high mortality rates in domestic flocks
  • Avian influenza viruses rarely cause clinical signs in wild waterfowl, although raptors and wild game birds (pheasants, quail, turkey, grouse) may be more susceptible to HPAI.
  • MFWP recommends that falconers avoid hunting avian species, particularly waterfowl during HPAI outbreaks.  Game bird farmers are advised to follow the same precautions as outlined for domestic poultry (
  • The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) recommends that poultry producers practice good biosecurity including limiting contact between domestic and wild birds, limiting visitor access to domestic poultry. 
  • Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans and the meat from these animals is safe for human consumption; however, it is recommended that people follow proper sanitary precautions when handling birds.  Wear latex or rubber gloves when cleaning birds, washing hands with soapy water after cleaning, clean and disinfect equipment and surfaces that came in contact with the bird, and cook wild birds thoroughly before eating the meat.  The US Department of Agriculture recommends following sanitary handling procedures and cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Domestic poultry owners should take precautions to keep wild birds out of flocks.

The back of the chicken coop has a small yard that we usually use for teenage chicks we are transitioning from the brooder tub to the coop. It has netting over the top to discourage hawks other airborne predators. Because of the recent outbreak of Avian Influenza we have to be on the alert for wild birds mixing with our domestic flock. So our chickens are a captive lot. They are used to free ranging.

It won't be forever. 
Just for a short time I hope. 

They are not happy.
But they are safe. 

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