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Biosecurity for Birds

Bird Biosecurity
Webinar and Twitter chat

While good biosecurity is always a good way to protect the health of backyard poultry, it is even more important right now. Highly pathogenic avian influenza cases were confirmed in some areas of the country earlier this year and proper biosecurity is essential to prevent this disease from entering a flock or spreading to new flocks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is encouraging all backyard bird owners to practice good biosecurity and is offering a free webinar and Twitter chat to help new and veteran poultry owners learn more about maintaining healthy flocks. The hour-long webinar will take place on Thursday, August 6 at 7 p.m. EDT, 6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT and 4 p.m. PDT. To guarantee a place at the webinar, register now at healthybirdswebinar.com and then enter the password: Chickens. A Twitter chat will run alongside the webinar. Join the Twitter chat using #Chickenchat 2015 to get answers to your questions. To submit advance questions for either event, post them Healthy Harry’s Facebook page. The event is hosted by Andy Schneider, also known as “The Chicken Whisperer®,” a national media personality who serves as the Biosecurity For Birds campaign spokesperson and Dr. Jo Anna Quinn, a veterinary medical officer and poultry health specialist with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Dr. Megin Nichols, a health investigator from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also will participate. These experts will share information and answer questions about raising backyard poultry, how to keep your flocks free from disease and predators and how to protect your family from disease your birds might spread. They will explore such topics as what to expect from your birds during the fall and ways to protect your flock during cold winter months. The USDA webinar and chat is part of its Biosecurity For Birds outreach campaign to help educate backyard bird owners about steps they can take to protect their flocks from disease.  For more information about Biosecurity for Birds please visit, http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.


Tobacco Issue

There is an issue with some tobacco in the area.  Below are some pictures with at least a partial range of the symptoms.  If you have tobacco that looks like this, please contact Tim Hambrick, Area Field Crop Agent at (336) 703-2856 or tim_hambrick@nscu.edu.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

Avian Flu and how it
may Impact the Small Flock Owner

Written by Dan Campeau, Area Specialized Poultry Agent, NC Cooperative Extension Service How can this current stain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu affect you as a small flock owner? There are several layers to this question. It really affects EVERYONE to some extent from consumers to small flock owners! From a Human Health Standpoint, so far no one has gotten sick from this strain of Avian Flu. We have been very lucky from that standpoint. There is NO danger of getting this flu virus from eating cooked eggs or poultry meat. For more detailed risk factors please visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/. From a Consumer standpoint this disease has affected egg and poultry meat prices already. From a Small Flock Owner Standpoint, This strain of Avian Flu is carried by seemingly healthy migratory waterfowl. The biggest threat to our North Carolina flock owners are in the spring and fall migratory season. So far, 231 farms in the Midwest and West coast areas have been affected and depopulated and there has been over a hundred million dollars of financial loss directly related to this disease. It is potentially a BIG Deal for all of us. If this strain of highly pathogenic bird flu gets into your flock, most of your birds will be dead within three days. Since many of our Small Flock owners have a personal relationship with their birds it can be very devastating to their owners and families to loose whole flocks of birds both from an emotional and financial standpoint. What can we do? As small flock owners, you must treat this as a potentially very contagious bird disease that is easily spread from one flock to another. We need to keep visitors out of our poultry pens and follow NC laws that state that we have to keep our birds on our own property. If you have to let people into your chicken pens, make sure that are wearing disposable boots and coveralls. Try to keep birds indoors especially during spring and fall while migratory waterfowl are flying overhead. Keep birds away from farm ponds and grassy areas around ponds. Do not order biddies from Midwest or West coast hatcheries until the threat of this virus is determined by authorities to be near zero. Wear different foot gear to agri- supply stores than you wear while doing your poultry chores. What do you do if you have sick birds? If you have more than one chicken with respiratory issues that looks like it is on death’s doorstep you may want to contact Rollins Diagnostic lab at (919) 733-3986 to make an appointment to take the bird in before it dies so it can be humanely euthanized and necropsied to see what the cause of illness was. Our NCDA State Veterinarian and Commissioner of Agriculture has put a moratorium on all poultry sales, bird swaps, live bird markets, fairs, demonstrations, and any other poultry events from August 15,2015 to January 15 of 2016. Please be aware of this and be glad we are trying to be proactive in North Carolina to try to prevent it’s potential spread in our State. For continued updates please visit the NCDA website at http://ncagr.gov/avianflu/.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

N.C. continues to
prepare for possible avian influenza outbreak

RALEIGH – State Veterinarian Doug Meckes announced additional precautions that are being put in place to help North Carolina prepare for a possible introduction of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is requiring all poultry owners, regardless of the number of birds, to register for an NCFarmID number, Meckes said. This will facilitate the department in alerting poultry owners about an outbreak, especially owners in close proximity to a positive farm. Poultry owners can also sign up for a national premises ID number, but it is not required. Anyone already part of the National Poultry Improvement Plan is exempt from this requirement. An online sign-up form will be available after Aug. 1. “In planning our response for highly pathogenic avian influenza, one problem we’ve come across is that we can’t protect birds that we don’t know exist,” Meckes said. “We need to know where poultry are located so we can properly protect commercial and backyard flocks." Information gathered through NCFarmID registration is used solely for animal health purposes. This critical data will provide animal health officials with necessary contact information in case of an animal health concern, and help identify animals and premises that may have been affected. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is also requiring any commercial poultry grower with 200 or more birds to submit a HPAI outbreak plan. A commercial grower would be any grower under contract with an integrated company. “It’s very important that growers think through the worst-case scenario, because a confirmation of high-path avian flu would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Meckes said. “We want each grower to consider their resources and location to determine how they can best handle an outbreak in a way that is environmentally sensitive and gets them back online as soon as is feasible.” An HPAI Outbreak Plan template will be available on the department’s website after Aug. 1. Growers will need to submit the plan to the Veterinary Division no later than Sept. 15. While only commercial growers will be required to submit the plan, all flock owners are encouraged to plan ahead and consider how they would respond to a confirmed positive. Last month, Meckes and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced that bird shows and sales would be halted from Aug. 15 to January 15, 2016. The intent is to prevent birds from commingling and spreading the HPAI virus. Individual sales are still allowed to take place. For more information about avian influenza and the department’s response plans, go towww.ncagr.gov/avianflu.

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