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Avian influenza - What you can do to protect your flock and the community.

As we are aware, from the detection of the H7N3 and H7N9 strains of Avian Influenza, hundreds of thousands of chickens have been euthanized, and quarantine zones have been set up around farms near Meredith and Terang in Victoria. From this outbreak, what can every day, backyard poultry owners do to protect their flock and help stop the spread of Avian Influenza in the community at large??

Here are some simple tips and hygiene rules from Agriculture Victoria:

  • Regularly clean your chicken coop including feeders, drinkers and equipment.

  • Frequently replace nesting materials.

  • Always wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling birds, eggs or other materials in the coop.

  • Try to avoid contact between chicken and wild birds, rodents or pets.

  • Your birds should drink the same water as you — clean of any droppings or animal waste.

  • If you are selling or giving away eggs, use new cartons if possible or keep reused cartons clean and away from birds. 

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, emus, and ostriches are susceptible to avian influenza. Many species of wild birds, including waterfowl and seabirds, can carry the virus.

If you a located within a controlled area, backyard chickens are required to be housed, and if that's not possible, then separate them from wild birds and not feed your chickens in a way that allows them to mix with wild birds including water sources.

It is also important that poultry owners always exercise caution when interacting with their chickens by washing hands with warm soapy water before and after handling. Any visitors on your property who may have had contact with other poultry or wild birds cover their footwear or change their shoes. Eggs and chicken meat are safe to eat provided they are handled and cooked according to standard food handling practices.

Anyone who notices abnormal behavior in their flocks, or unexplained deaths, is urged to contact the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 or you can visit the Animal Health website.

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