Any tips and tricks for avoiding AI?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by OnlyOrps, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. OnlyOrps

    OnlyOrps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am chomping at the bit to add to my flock. I am worried about AI. Would it be any safer to buy eggs than to buy chicks/grown birds or is the risk inherent no matter what age/stage of development the bird is in?
    Is it safer to buy from npip flocks or do they not test for AI?
    Would you recommend simply waiting until this AI scare blows over or simply quarantine any incoming birds?
    Any advice on disease prevention is much appreciated!
     
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi there,
    You don't say where you are - several states have already been affected, I think only a matter of time before most states are hit.
    The bottom line for your already existing flock is take all precautions - don't let other people near your birds, avoid shows etc. Especially try to keep wild birds away from yours. From a personal point of view, I would rather see my chicks before I buy them to ensure they are looking lively with no signs of illness. I'm sure all responsible breeders will take the necessary precautions against infection, but there is always a chance of infection. At the current time I wouldn't buy from large hatcheries. It goes without saying, quarantine the new birds away from your existing flock for at least 4-6 weeks. I believe there is info here under the learning tab on AI, if not www.thechickenchick.com has lots of great info on avoiding AI. Best of luck,
     
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  3. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Good for you for wanting to protect your flock!

    Unfortunately, the only way to truly safe-proof a flock from infection is to completely cut them off from the outside, along with stringent biosecurity. For most backyard chicken owners like ourselves, this is neither possible nor practical, but as long as birds have contact with the outdoors and possibly wild birds, there is always a risk There are still some ways to protect our flocks though.

    AI was originally a gastrointestinal disease of wild waterfowl. Therefore, it can be spread in the feces of these birds. Try to keep your flock away from areas that waterbirds frequent, like ponds and some fields. This may mean less free ranging and more coop time.

    If visitors do come over, it is a good idea to keep a spare pair of boots on hand for them to slip into. I also have a pair of coveralls that I keep in my trunk, and wash between farm visits. The coveralls are pretty cheap and easy to slip into. It may be worth it to keep a couple pairs on hand, especially if you find you are visting other birds or areas where other birds are frequently.

    A foot bath is also a good idea. They sell special ones, but all you need is a small plastic bin with a bleach solution (I think we use 1 part bleach to 10 parts water).

    If you buy from NPIP flocks, they should be certified free of AI as part of that program. I would still quarantine new adult birds in a serparate area from your normal flock for at least three weeks, preferably 4 weeks. Chicks from a hatchery are a fairly safe bet as well. Even smaller hatcheries have pretty stringent disinfection protocols between chick batches. Eggs would be a safe option as well.

    Unfortunately, if a farm tests positive for AI, all poultry within a 3 km radius are also depopulated. Any farms within 10 km are kept under surveillance. This is why I strongly encourage education amongst our community of backyard chickens keepers. It is often that backyard flocks pose the most risks.
     
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  4. OnlyOrps

    OnlyOrps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow great advice guys! Thanks! My birds were bought before the outbreak and have been housed in a large barn with no outdoor access. I haven't seen any birds in the barn. There is a fake owl to scare them off and my great pyrenees don't allow any birds near us. They bark and chase all predators, song birds, anything that flys. Hopefully my little flock has been kept safe due to these measures. They have never free ranged or had a run although I do pick grass and weeds for them to eat and give them table scraps along with their feed to keep their diet diverse and help with boredom. I always free range my chickens but since the AI outbreak I've kept this flock indoors their whole life. It has been awhile since I had chickens and I am just really dedicated to making sure this flock stays healthy and happy. As much as I want to add a few varieties/colors to my flock I can wait.
     
  5. crb1487

    crb1487 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello.
    I'm terrified for my babies I'm extremely protective but I have a conjoined hen house (with separate runs) to that of my neighbor who's just decided he wants to dabble in selling eggs
    & is buying up assorted babies from a lady, whom her practices I'm very Leary about...
    I don't let them intermingle and the ones I rescued from him are quarantined.
    I find it hard to understand there not being some sort of vaccine to keep my little ladies safe from the people in my 3 km radius
    (not sure how far that is, but I know at least 1 neighbor that is in mine.)
    I can't keep them all in my house, lordy no, thank you everyone for sharing ideas. [​IMG]
    I'm with OnlyOrps, I just want to keeps my flock safe.
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    There is a vaccine for AI but it has many of the same issues that a human flu shot has. One major issue is that the vaccine only covers H5N1, which is the high pathogenic variant that can infect humans. However, any strain of avian influenza can mutate into a high pathogenic strain.

    Additionally, the vaccine does not offer full protection, but can reduce the amount of virus shed from infected birds. For me, this still offers an issue because if the bird tests positive, it doesn't matter how much virus it is shedding, the flock is still depopulated. The vaccine is less about protecting birds and more about protecting people.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. crb1487

    crb1487 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    THANK YOU Chickerdoodle13
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  8. OnlyOrps

    OnlyOrps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you guys think it would be dangerous to attend a poultry show? Not bringing any birds just want to walk around and admire the birds...
     
  9. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    I think you would be fine! I would definitely throw those clothes in the wash as soon as you get home and take a shower yourself before heading out to see your guys.
     
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  10. OnlyOrps

    OnlyOrps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's what I was thinking. Thanks!
     

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