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Avian Flu - Washington State

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Just sayin, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Curious about experiences with outbreaks of Avian Flu, and what reasonable steps people take to protect against it here in Washington.

    I am a long ways from both counties named, but the source is said to be migratory waterfowl, so it could crop up anywhere I'd think.

    It seems extreme to keep chickens indoors or cooped up for the foreseeable future.... what do we do? Just keep an eye out for sick birds?

    http://agr.wa.gov/News/2015/15-01.aspx
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  2. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you free range them or have a chicken run? If you have a run with netting on top I wouldn't worry about it too much. Of course a wild infected bird could poop over top of the run but that seems unlikely.

    If you just have a fenced area I would move the food/water into the coop to keep other birds AWAY from it to lessen the risk. Most wild birds do not become seriously ill from the various avian flu viruses (they have yearly flu viruses that change and affect lots of birds just like the human flu viruses do).

    That's also probably why domestic poultry gets so sick from the same viruses that wild birds often survive, wild birds and people that are frequently exposed to various flu viruses develop some level of immunity.
     
  3. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm all the way across the country but have been reading about this. I agree with sonya9, bring anything that might attract wild birds into your coop, specifically food and water.

    We recently built a new run and I moved the feeding station into the run from the coop. Within hours I began to notice an increase in wild birds but it didn't hit me as to why. A few days later, my yard looked like a wild bird sanctuary. I actually had blue jays dive bombing my run going for food.

    I immediately moved the food back into the coop and the birds were gone within hours. You'll want to make sure that anything else that attracts wild birds, such as bird feeders, compost piles, standing sources of water, are far away from your coop as well.
     
  4. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are essentially free ranged, in our large fenced area around the house and barn.

    Our coop is inside our larger horse barn, and the chickens ~can~ be contained in the barn if we need to, like if we're going to be gone for the day, it does cause them some angst to be 'cooped up'. They want out. I wouldn't want to do that to them indefinitely.

    That's what's fuzzy about the precautions in the statement, is this a precaution for the rest of our lives, keep them cooped up? Or is this a passing wave with a finite end?

    I don't see a lot of reason for those with small closed flocks to test healthy looking chickens? Certainly would if any got sick or died.


    We don't keep food outside and we don't have birdfeeders, so there isn't a lot of mingling with wild birds.... but we do have the normal amount of robins and chickadees and things that land in the yard. Not waterfowl though. Nothing about the yard attracts ducks or geese to land, but they do fly over on their routes.

    Not sure what, if anything, I should change. Building them any kind of small run would be a major change for them and us, that I'm not sure any of us would enjoy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  5. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I personally would look into the regulations before having sick birds tested for the flu to make sure the flock wouldn't be seized/killed by the authorities

    I would not want my birds (that are pets with benefits) seized by the state and killed for a low pathogenic strain that they might very well recover from. I am sure there are ways to submit samples for testing while preserving anonymity. Maybe that is tinfoil hat paranoia but better safe than sorry!
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  6. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I am going to say this with all the care and understanding that I can.

    If your birds have AI, they need to be culled (seized/euthanized.) If they have it and recover, they will infect any and all other birds that come into contact with them, you, others that walk on your place, etc. I know it would be hard, heartbreaking, and tragic to have your birds killed (seized/euthanized) but it would be to protect the birds of EVERYONE else in the county, state, and country. I am sorry for the "backyarder" who, I'm sure, has lost all 150 birds on his/her place, but I'm glad they are not going to further spread this catastrophic disease. AI will not only decimate whole flocks of pets, but commercial chicken farms and it will also kill people. Even the "low pathogenic strains" can and will quickly evolve into strains that are deadly to both man and fowl.

    It scares me, too, to think that I could have all my birds killed against my wishes, but I would do it. I would do it for you, and everyone else that has birds. It is the only way to fight AI.
     
    3 people like this.
  7. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good considerations to consider! 150 birds did seem to be more than your average backyard flock.

    I have seven... plus the two babies... 9. They're so mingled, if any got it, I'd assume the whole flock would.

    How long would a place remain 'infected' I wonder? In terms of replacing birds.... would you want to wait a week, month, six months? Haven't heard an answer to that in the reports... how long it lives if there are no chickens.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  8. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I don't know the answer to that, but it should be easy to research. I have AI testing done once a year, at the same time they are tested for Pullorium. It is a part of keeping chickens. Don't worry about replacing birds until you have a reason. Take reasonable precautions to exclude wild bird exposure, have your birds tested if more than one dies at the same time, and then try not to stress over it.
     
  9. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will also say this gently as I am sure many others would strongly disagree on principle alone.

    If my birds had a low pathogenic AI infection I would NOT cull. I do not consider LPAI a potentially "catastrophic" disease. The flu virus in that story was H5 which is not high risk for mutating to allow human to human transmission. It is not necessarily even high risk for all domestic poultry. There are various avian flu strains (just like there are many human flu strains) and the severity of each strain varies greatly.

    The virus is already quite widespread among wild waterfowl and they are responsible for the majority of outbreaks. No one talks about eradicating that far greater risk (nor should they) so my little chickens would NOT be offered up as a "feel good" sacrifice to placate the masses (and I would be cautious about testing for the same reason).


     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  10. niman

    niman Out Of The Brooder

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    I think that a few posters are out of touch with reality with regard to Fujian H5 circulating in North America. The H5N2 version has affected 12 farms in British Columbia, as well as a northern pintail at Wiser Lake in Washington (7 miles south of BC). The H5N8 version infected a healthy wigeon near Wiser Lake, which was fed to four pet falcons and all four died. H5N8 led to the deaths and culling of 130 birds in Winston, Oregon
    http://www.recombinomics.com/News/12221402/H5N8_Fujian_Oregon_Rel.html
    The H5 in Benton, Washington has not been fully sub-typed, but the H5 is Fujian.
    http://www.recombinomics.com/News/01031501/H5_Fujian_Benton.html
    There are also reports of AI in Butte County, California, which will also likely be Fujian H5.

    This virus is widespread in wild birds and is highly pathogenic to domestic poultry. The same Fujian H5 has cause fatal human cases (as H5N1 and H5N6) and human H5N2 and H5N8 are likely (agency assurances notwithstanding). International regulations for all countries belong to the UN require reporting and culling of all H5 and H7 infections, including low path, with good reasons known by many countries which have experience with these serotypes. Fujian H5 is universally feared by all who understand the pathogenicty of this strain. Although it is new to North America, it has a well described trail of dead bodies (human, wild waterfowl, domestic poultry).
     
    1 person likes this.

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