Poultry production is a thriving industry in Indiana. Evidence of this can be found by looking at the 2007 Census of Agriculture that reveals that Indiana had 6,928,062 pullets and 5,971,062 Turkeys. Those numbers allowed Indiana to be ranked fifth in the nation for pullet production and seventh in Turkey production in 2007. However, those numbers changed by 2009, allowing Indiana to be ranked fourth in egg production and Turkey production. Due to how vast the poultry industry is in Indiana, I felt that this week's column needed to be dedicated to Bird Health Awareness Week.
Bird Health Awareness Week is from Nov. 1-7. It is part of the USDA's Biosecurity For Birds campaign to promote awareness about the diseases that threaten bird health and the ways to prevent the spread of infectious poultry diseases. As part of the celebration, everyone is invited to participate in the USDA's webinar with the "Chicken Whisperer," Andy Schneider, on Nov. 5. Andy is the host of a national online radio show that gives advice about raising backyard poultry and living a sustainable lifestyle. For more information about participating in the webinar, go to http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov. Be sure to register for the event early!
Additionally, you can view the various "tweets" the USDA will be posting on their twitter account focusing on the importance of raising healthy birds. The Biosecurity For Birds twitter account can be found at http://twitter.com/APHISgov.
If you don't have time to listen to the webinar or follow the USDA on twitter, don't worry because you can still find out about the five basic precautions that can be used to protect your birds at home. The five basic precautions are part of the Biosecurity For Birds campaign. The first precaution is to be careful about who comes in contact with your birds because they can easily spread disease into your flock. This is of special concern if you have friends who raise their own birds.
Second, before you go near your birds, always wash your hands and clean your shoes. Then once you are done working near your birds, clean your hands and shoes again. The third precaution deals with cleaning your car and truck tires. It is important that after you have been anywhere that has allowed you to have contact with other poultry, that you clean your car and truck tires to prevent any disease from spreading.
Just like any other livestock species, you should never share tools or equipment with other poultry producers. That is because bacteria and other organisms can stay on the equipment and be transferred to your birds. If you must share tools and equipment, then disinfect them thoroughly before using them near your birds.
The final precaution deals with letting others know when you notice a problem in your flock. Signs to look for include coughing, sneezing, lack of appetite, reduced egg production, etc. Once you notice a problem, contact your local veterinarian or the USDA at 1-866-536-7593.
The Biosecurity For Birds campaign focuses on three principles: Look for Signs, Report Sick Birds, and Protect Your Birds. If you follow the basic precautions suggested here, you will help protect your birds from getting sick.
If you are interested in obtaining more poultry health information or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay Co. or 829-5020 in Owen Co. or reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
* Saturday -- Fall-o-ween, McCormick's Creek State Park,
* Nov. 1 -- Owen-Monroe Cow Sale, 7:30 p.m.,
* Nov. 6-19 -- North American International Livestock Exposition, Louisville, Ky., and
* Nov. 10 -- Owen-Monroe Calf Sale, 1 p.m.