The bird flu is a nation-wide epidemic and spreading over 27 states and counting.
Government agencies are seizing and culling back-yard chickens for ‘suspicion’ of the flu leaving the owners helpless and left without a flock.
Ultimately, we all want to keep our chickens healthy and happy at the same time, protect our family.
Regrettably, life happens and things are out of our control.
For instance, an airborne disease that spreads from foul to humans.
However, there are preventative measures we can take to build a healthy flock in order to resist disease.
What is Bird Flu- Chicken Flu ?
Although it’s no laughing matter, my husband fondly recalls his mentor claiming that everyone who was sick as having the bird flu.
“That boy has the chicken-flu I tell ya!”
Of course, we had no idea this was a real thing back then.
The Avian Influenza is a highly contagious virus and can spread through airborne contamination.
Incidentally there have been no reported cases in the United States of spreading to humans so far.
Even so, there have been cases in the countries of associated deaths and illness in humans so we shouldn’t let our guard down.
Chicken Flu Is Spreading
The media is funny about what news it decides to share with you.
Back when the first cases were discovered- mass hysteria. Now? Crickets. Not a peep (no pun intended).
Does this mean it is no longer a problem? Heck no.
Still, it is our job and part of our animal husbandry to investigate what is going on in the world and what we need to be aware of.
Actually, Bird Flu hasn’t gone away.
In fact, as recently as spring of 2017(update below), Bird Flu has been reported in three states in the United States: Tennessee, Kentucky & Alabama.
- Update. Since publishing this article, the CDC has reported more cases of bird flu worldwide.
If you’ve had direct contact with Infected birds
What should you do if you come in contact with a sick bird/chicken?
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends:
- People who have had direct contact with infected bird(s) should be watched to see if they become ill.
They may be given influenza antiviral drugs to prevent illness.
- While antiviral drugs are most often used to treat flu, they also can be used to prevent infection in someone who has been exposed to influenza viruses. When used to prevent seasonal influenza, antiviral drugs are 70% to 90% effective.
- Close contacts (family members, etc.) of people who have been exposed to avian influenza viruses are being asked to monitor their health and report any flu-like symptoms.
What Can You Do About Bird Flu? Sit Back and Wait?
When the CDC comes knocking on your door to cull your flock- the bell has rung.
In fact, they don’t even have to prove your chickens have the flu- just suspect it.
First and foremost, prevention is your best line of defense.
You can start protecting your flock by building their immune system and resistance to viruses and bacteria.
Next, you can build your chickens immune system naturally.
Build Your Chickens Immunity Naturally
Some tips on how to build your chickens immune system naturally so they can resist sickness and disease are:
- Feed them a natural chicken diet with plenty of protein.
- Reduce their stress.
- Give them plenty of living space.
- Don’t have more than one rooster per five hens.
- Protect them from predator’s.
- Ferment their feed, offer probiotics, add apple cider vinegar to their water.
- Add fresh herbs to their diet.
Bird Flu Updates
In addition to protecting your flock and building their resistance, it is a good idea to keep up with recent reports.
So check the database regularly to view reported cases in your area.
For example, some of the sites you can check are:
- Center For Disease Control: Avian Influenza
- World Animal Health Information Database
- World Organisation For Animal Health
In conclusion, keep your flock healthy, be on the lookout for sick birds and report any suspicion.
No doubt your chickens will be fine if you follow our tips and keep them healthy.