Even though avian flu isn’t in the news like it once was, don’t think that you can breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Avian flu has been found in wild birds as well as backyard and commercial poultry flocks. While biosecurity is a familiar topic for large commercial producers, owners of small backyard flocks need to familiarize themselves with it as well.
The avian flu is a danger not only to birds but, potentially, to humans as well. The odds that the virus will infect humans are low, but it’s not impossible, so don’t just casually dismiss any potential symptoms. Symptoms of avian flu in humans include cough, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea and, in some cases, a mild eye infection. If you develop a fever, cough and body aches, immediately see your doctor, and be sure to inform him or her that you are in regular contact with poultry.
Unfortunately, the likelihood that the current avian flu outbreak will continue to spread to other areas of the United States is very high. For this reason, it is important to maintain a vigilant watch over your birds and immediately report symptoms to your local or state veterinarian or the USDA, which can be reached toll-free at 1-866-536-7593.
In order to protect your birds, good biosecurity is key.
The following practices are recommended to help limit the spread of avian flu:
- Restrict access to your property — and your birds — from wild animals and other humans. Remember that other animals, such as dogs, cats and rodents, can spread the disease as well.
- Prevent interactions with wild birds. This means limiting or eliminating free-ranging.
- Carefully wash your hands and change your shoes and clothes after contact with your birds. It is best to have one set of shoes and clothes that you only wear into housing areas and that you immediately remove upon leaving the coop, pen, etc.
- Do not permit your bird-owning friends to come into contact with your birds. Also, do not borrow or share lawn and garden equipment, tools or poultry supplies from or with other bird owners.
- Regularly clean and disinfect areas that your birds can access. Avian flu viruses are inactivated by heat and drying and are very sensitive to most disinfectants and detergents (e.g., Dow Chemical’s GS2 or Preserve’s Synergize). Be sure to clear away organic matter prior to disinfection for the best results.
- Do not purchase birds or eggs from unknown sources.
- Report the symptoms listed above or any unexpected deaths to your local or state veterinarian or through the USDA’s toll-free number: 1-866-536-7593.
The ULTRALYX® Farm Flock Supplement Block is a highly concentrated supplement that helps deliver essential minerals and vitamins that are critical for a strong immune system and healthy, happy birds. ULTRALYX Farm Flock Supplement Blocks will also supply extra protein and energy that may be missing from the birds’ diet due to decreased free-ranging opportunities. Since these convenient blocks are available 24/7, birds can access them day or night and get what they need when they need it.
In summary, avian flu is a very real threat for backyard flocks. Be vigilant for the symptoms of this disease, and implement effective biosecurity practices to help lower your risk. ULTRALYX Farm Flock Supplement Blocks can be a part of your overall management plan and will keep your birds fortified nutritionally, helping them stay healthy and happy.
Warning signs of infectious avian flu
- Sudden increase in bird deaths in your flock
- Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing and nasal discharge
- Watery, green diarrhea
- Lack of energy and poor appetite
- Drop in egg production or soft- or thin-shelled, misshapen eggs
- Swelling around the eyes, neck and head
- Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs
- Tremors, drooping wings, circling, twisting of the head and neck, or lack of movement
Visit your local ULTRALYX dealer for more information on our available ULTRALYX products or call 1-888-718-3493 to speak to an ULTRALYX representative.