Poultry, bird owners encouraged to ramp up biosecurity plans now
State officials urge flock owners to review biosecurity measures.
As birds and waterfowl fill the skies of Wisconsin on their annual spring migration, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is reminding poultry owners of the ongoing threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The spring migratory period for wild birds brings an increased risk of infection to all flocks, so DATCP recommends that poultry owners continue using the strongest biosecurity measures to protect their birds.
In Wisconsin last year, 29 domestic flocks in 18 counties were confirmed with HPAI. Nationwide, more than 58.5 million birds have died related to HPAI making it the largest animal disease outbreak in U.S. history, surpassing the 2014-15 bird flu outbreak, according to DATCP.
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Time to review biosecurity measures
The best way to protect flocks from infection is through strong biosecurity practices that do not allow for virus introduction. All poultry owners, regardless of the size of the operation, must ensure that strict biosecurity practices are in place to prevent HPAI from infecting flocks.
As the spring migration of wild birds begins, DATCP encourages all poultry producers to review and update their biosecurity plans. Those who do not have a biosecurity plan should work with their flock veterinarian to develop one that clearly addresses the risks for disease introduction specific to their operations. Biosecurity guides and other resources are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Defend the Flock Program.
State law requires Wisconsin poultry and other livestock owners to register where their animals are kept. DATCP uses this information to rapidly respond to animal disease outbreaks to protect animal health, the food supply, public safety, and Wisconsin’s agriculture economy. Registration is free and can be completed at wiid.org or by calling the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium at (888) 808-1910.
“One of the first clinical signs of HPAI is sudden, unexplained death,” says Dr. Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist. “Most HPAI cases are reporting a decline in water and feed consumption prior to the unexplained death.”
Poultry owners who recognize any abnormal increase in mortality or clinical signs of disease, including respiratory distress, drop in food or water intake, decreased egg production, and lethargy are asked to report it to DATCP at (800) 572-8981.
Visit hpai.wi.gov for regular updates on HPAI in Wisconsin and resources for poultry owners. More information on HPAI, prevention strategies and biosecurity is available here: