Use proper bio-security practices with birds

Healthy flocks rock! Spring time is a great opportunity to brush up on the bio-security practices you use while tending to your poultry flock.

Is using proper bio-security practices really that important for back yard poultry owners? The answer is absolutely! The purpose of using proper bio-security practices is to keep your poultry healthy and to identify potential health problems in your flock.

By following three simple steps, you can help keep your poultry flock healthy.

First, look for signs of disease.
Sick bird flocks could have the following symptoms:

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths
  • Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing and/or runny nose
  • Watery and green diarrhea
  • Lack of energy and poor appetite
  • Drop in egg production or soft- or thin-shelled, misshapen eggs
  • Swelling around the eyes, neck and head
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs
  • Tremors, drooping wings, circling, twisting of the head and neck or lack of movement

Early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease.

Second, you should always report sick birds.
Seek the help of a local veterinarian or a state veterinarian to help diagnose the problem in your flock and propose treatments.

Third, keep them safe.
Lastly, protect your birds. You can protect your birds by making sure that they have appropriate medical attention, housing and nutrition.

Maintain their hygiene.
Hygiene is another very important element in proper bio-security practices. It is very important to keep all of the equipment that you use including feeders, cages and waterers clean. Should you have to borrow equipment of any kind from another poultry owner, it important to clean and disinfect the items to ensure that cross-flock contamination does not occur.

You are your birds’ best protection! For more tips and information on bio-security practices in back yard poultry operations, visit eXtension’s article Protecting Backyard Flocks from Avian Influenza and the United States Department of Agriculture’s APHIS division’s bird bio-security page.

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