The bird flu is back in the news again, spreading and mutating. Most of the cases are in Asia which might make those outside the region feel that there is no need to be concerned. But there are also cases in Africa and Europe, and if wild birds are infected it could be spread virtually anywhere. Some birds winter in Europe, but fly to Canada to breed, 26 different species cross the Bering Sea seasonally, some of which travel to the West coast of America. So, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the avian flu to spread anywhere in the world. Keeping a few strategies in mind could help keep you and your birds safe.
- The good news is that there has not been any reported case of humans contracting the disease from wild birds. And the vast majority of cases of human infection come from areas of the world with poor sanitation and low standards of living. Focusing on nutrition is probably enough to keep you safe whether or not you are raising birds.
- Nutrition should also be your first step in protecting your birds. Make sure to feed them a healthy diet including greens and to keep their water clean and fresh. Remove sick birds from the population and don’t eat them or compost them, throw them away in a sealed bag to be safe.
- While it is probably impossible to guarantee complete isolation or quarantine from wild birds, effort should be make to reduce contact between your birds and wild birds. Remove bird feeders from your yard, do not over feed your chickens in the open where wild birds will come to feed among them, hang old CD’s or other reflective bird deterrents in your yard, and if there are cases of the bird flu reported in your area you might even want to shoot any birds in your yard with a pellet gun as a last resort.
- If you have been unsure whether you want to raise rabbits or chickens, now might be a time to consider rabbits.
If you live in an area with large commercial poultry production your chances of coming into contact with the virus are much greater. Take the simple steps that could protect your and your birds now rather than suffer loss or even sickness and death later.
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