Thursday, February 16, 2012

Birds get the Flu too..

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I read the other day that they found 12 dead swans in Westboro, Ma last month. 4 of them had Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI). The other 8 did not and they don’t know why they died. The more deadly kind known as High Pathogen Avian Influenza (HPAI) is more often found in Asia but has been seen in other countries.
LPAI is not deadly in most birds, but it can make your chickens not well and go off laying according the the Mass DAR site. I’m always worried about bringing something home by accident. Chickens are very sensitive.
Long ago when we got our first chickens we established some rules to try to keep from unknowingly carrying anything into the backyard, which is the chicken zone.
- We have shoes that are only worn in the backyard. They stay by the backdoor. Outside shoes are left by the front door. The two never meet.
- No visitors in the backyard past the pergola.
- Chickens do not leave the backyard. This is sometimes easier said than done when they see something yummy on the other side of the fence.
- We wash our hands before we go in the back yard and after.
These are pretty simple rules. We do have visitors once in a while. I just ask that we clean the bottoms of their shoes or they bring clean shoes for the back yard. If we have been to another farm we will usually also change our outer clothes. I know that wild birds and any other animals that wander through can bring something in, I’m not looking for a sterile environment, just to cut down on the chances of bringing any unfriendly diseases in. We all want our flocks healthy and happy.

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