Because highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) continues to present a threat to birds across Colorado, the Colorado State Veterinarian’s office has issued updated guidance for poultry events, such as swaps, meets and competitions. The guidance asks poultry owners to increase safety precautions and biosecurity practices, monitor their flocks for illness and report any sick or dead birds to the state veterinarian’s office.
“The most important thing poultry owners can do right now to protect their birds from avian influenza is ... improve their safety and biosecurity by keeping their flock away from wild birds, separating and monitoring any new birds for at least 14 days, and reporting any abnormal sickness or death events to our office,” said Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. “While we are leaving the decision to postpone or cancel any scheduled poultry events to the organizers, we are strongly recommending event organizers implement extra precautionary measures before, during, and after their event.”
The guidance identifies commingling events as posing a risk for the introduction and transmission of HPAI among Colorado domestic birds. Commingling means an event that mixes multiple flocks, owners, and equipment together by bringing them into the same area.
The state veterinarian’s office is asking organizers of commingling events to ensure participants monitor the health status of flocks before entering the event, develop biosecurity plans for events and remind attendees to keep their birds separated from the remainder of their flock for at least 14 days after an event.
The guidance also provides additional resources for youth organizations, including free courses through “Bring Home the Blue, Not the Flu!”
New poultry owners can learn about biosecurity basics, get more resources and report any suspicious poultry illness or deaths at ag.colorado.gov/hpai.
Additionally, the state veterinarian’s office will hold an informational webinar on March 15, 2023, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the webinar is open to anyone. New poultry owners and people interested in learning more about HPAI and how to protect their flocks are encouraged to attend.
The live event will include presentations from State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin, as well as experts from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). It will be followed by a live question and answer session. The public can submit their questions ahead of time and register for the webinar at ag.colorado.gov/hpai.
Source: Colorado Department of Agriculture
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