June 22, 2016 - 9:35am -- smith.263@osu.edu

During Winter and Spring of 2015, bird flu devastated the U.S. poultry population and affected millions of birds from commercial and noncommercial flocks in more than 20 states. You likely also recall that in response all county fair poultry shows including ours and also poultry meets across Ohio were cancelled in 2015 in an effort to keep Ohio disease free.

It worked, and now Ohio and the United States aim to remain free from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (bird flu). While it's true there have been no recent cases of bird flu involving any domestic poultry reported in the U.S., the virus is expected to survive in the wild migratory waterfowl population for an estimated 3-5 years. Wild bird migrations occur during the Spring and Fall of each year; thus, the outbreak could return during those times.

This means poultry owners need to be on alert, and protect their birds through proper biosecurity. Owners and their flocks must avoid any direct or indirect contact with wild birds or other poultry. If there is high mortality in a flock, owners should submit birds to be tested by contacting any of the following agencies:

  • Ohio Department of Agriculture Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory: (614) 728-6220 After Hours: (888) 456-3405.
  • US Department of Agriculture Toll-free number (866)-536-7593
  • Ohio Poultry Association at info@ohiopoultry.org or phone: (614) 882-6111

For more information about the prevention of avian influenza - the bird flu - and keeping both our U.S. commercial and backyard/show flocks flu free, see the publcation from Ohio State University Veterinary Extension linked here in PDF format.

Also see this recent article in Ohio's Country Journal by the Chicken Whisperer with bio-security tips for backyard poultry growers.