Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and wild birds (especially waterfowl). Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus strains are extremely infectious, often fatal to chickens and turkeys, and can spread rapidly from flock-to-flock.
With the recent detections (since February 2022) of the Eurasian H5 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds and domestic poultry in the United States, bird owners should review their biosecurity practices and stay vigilant to protect poultry and pet birds from this disease. We have recently had confirmation of HPAI in Colorado wild and domestic birds.
How is the disease transmitted?
- Foot traffic
- Secretions from the bird
- Contact with infected droppings
- Movement of sick birds
- Contaminated clothing and equipment
Poultry with HPAI do not survive the illness. Vaccines for HPAI are not readily available.
Signs of Avian Influenza
- Difficulty breathing
- Decrease in feed or water intake
- Swelling or purple discoloration of head, eyelids, comb, wattle, and hocks
- Decrease in egg production
- Sudden unexplained death
- Extreme depression
Biosecurity is the key to preventing the spread of disease!
What to do if you have sick birds? REPORT IT!
If your birds are sick or dying, report it right away. This is one of the most important things you can do to keep HPAI from spreading.
1. Your flock or local veterinarian
2. The State veterinarian (303) 869-9130, available 24 hours/day
3. The State avian health team (970) 297-1281, only answered 9-5weekdays
4. USDA Sick bird line, toll-free at 1-866-536-7593.
- Attend Backyard Flock Webinar by Dr. Maggie Baldwin March 15, 2023 5-7pm. Register and ask questions.
- CDA Website on Avian Health. The situational reports can be reached by clicking on the green rectangular box in upper right hand corner.
- Defend the Flock website USDA:APHIS
- Bring home the Blue, not the Flu. 4-H modules on biosecurity and disease transmission.