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Avian Influenza in Tennessee a Reminder of Biosecurity for Backyard Flocks

Avian Influenza in Tennessee a Reminder of Biosecurity for Backyard Flocks

Backyard biosecurity means doing everything you can to protect your birds from disease including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

As a bird owner, keeping your birds healthy is a top priority. Your birds can become sick or die from exposure to just a few unseen bacteria, viruses or parasites. In a single day, these germs can multiply and infect all of your birds. By practicing backyard biosecurity, you will help keep your birds healthy.

If you follow some basic tips and make them part of your routine, you decrease the risk of disease entering your flock and persisting in soil, droppings and debris. Practicing biosecurity is an investment in the health of your birds.

Biosecurity boils down to these 6 steps:

  1. Keep your distance.
  2. Keep it clean.
  3. Don’t haul disease home.
  4. Don’t borrow disease from your neighbor.
  5. Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases.
  6. Report sick birds.

Of these steps, keeping an operation clean can be among the most daunting and demanding. “Wear clean clothes, scrub your shoes with disinfectant, and wash your hands thoroughly before entering your bird area. “Also, clean cages and change food and water daily. Clean and disinfect equipment that comes in contact with your birds or their droppings, including cages and tools and remove manure before disinfecting

Know the Warning Signs

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths in your flock
  • Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing, and nasal discharge
  • Watery and green diarrhea
  • Lack of energy and poor appetite
  • Drop in egg production or soft- or thin-shelled misshapen eggs

Report Sick Birds

Don’t wait. If your birds are sick or dying, call your local cooperative extension office, local veterinarian, the State Veterinarian, or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Veterinary Services office to report. USDA operates a toll-free hotline with veterinarians to help you.

Call your local cooperative extension office, or local veterinarian. Other contacts include: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Veterinary Services, 866–536–7593. Dr. Charlie Hatcher, State Veterinarian, Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s office 615-837-5120.

W. Alan Bruhin – Extension Director

About UT Extension - Sevier County

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. It is a statewide educational organization, funded by federal, state and local governments, that brings research-based information about agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and resource development to the people of Tennessee where they live and work. Sevier News Messenger distributes UT Extension news as a courtesy. UT Extension – Sevier County can be found at