In the past ten days, the number of Avian Influenza infected flocks in the Midwest has increased dramatically. No Avian Influenza has been confirmed in Illinois, but it has been confirmed in the bordering states of Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin. This disease does not affect human health but can be deadly to domestic chickens and turkeys.
According the USDA, “there have been several ongoing highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 incidents along the Pacific, Central and Mississippi Flyways. Cases in wild birds, captive wild birds, backyard poultry or commercial poultry have been reported in Arkansas, California, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.”
Farmers with chicken and turkey flocks that are outdoors need to be increasing biosecurity measures for their flocks. Some suggested biosecurity measures are: keep your flock isolated away from creek, ponds, wetlands, etc. where waterfowl may gather; do not use stream or ponds for watering your flock; keep feed bins covered and discourage the co-mingling of wild birds and your domestic birds.
With the rising concern about Avian Influenza, Dr. Ken Koelkebeck, University of Illinois Extension Poultry Specialist, has gather together three very helpful publication from the University of Minnesota. "Avian Influenza Basics for Organic and Pastured Poultry Flock Producers" will be useful to our local small flock farmers, people showing poultry at fairs and our backyard flock owners. You can get this material from our University of Illinois Extension office; or by sending a request to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org .