H5N2 bird flu -- How are you providing dabbling water for your waterfowl so wild birds can't drink?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by lceh, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. lceh

    lceh Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    We are trying to put into place a bird flu prevention program before H5N2 actually gets to Virginia. I have 4 kids in 4-H who raise poultry and we have several different flocks. The thought of our kids' birds being "depopulated" makes my blood run cold -- half are pets, and to say that would be a crushing blow to kids aged 6-12 would be an understatement. Let me start by saying I am familiar with basic biosecurity measures. We are aware that by having ANY free range birds our risk of disease is higher, but up until now we have known and accepted that risk. H5N2 is in a different league and we are working to find immediate solutions for our current setup, so please, don't tell me that I have to build several covered pens because that is not an option at the moment. I need to figure out what to do with what we have now.

    All of the bantams are housed in moveable, covered pens of hardware cloth, so their food and water is completely inaccessible to wild birds. We have a free-range flock of large fowl, as well as free-range ducks and a pair of Sebastopol geese. (By "free-range" I mean they are fenced in an uncovered 1 1/2 acre poultry field/orchard with no access to ponds, streams, bodies of water, etc.)

    We are taking strict measures to keep feeders in the coops, immediately clean up any spilled feed, and wherever possible put waterers under cover too, but I am stumped on how to handle the water for the ducks and geese. I have witnessed on many occasions our local flock of crows perched on the edge of the mortar tub drinking. Up until this year we've been happy enough to see them because they keep the hawks away, but now I am trying to find ways to deter them from the water tubs. The free-range large fowl can drink from a nipple waterer inside their coop, but I can't put the open water tubs inside the duck house or it will be a complete mess of soggy bedding. Does anyone have a solution for covering dabbling water so the ducks and geese have access but crows will stay away? I've thought of trying to construct various wire "cages", etc. but I haven't figured out how to let the ducks and geese access it if the crows can't.

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