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Preventing And Controlling Avian Flu In Poultry!

May 22, 2008
Raising any kind of poultry may seem simple enough if we only take the housing, temperature, feeding and hatching into consideration. The major issue faced by most poultry owners is disease. Avian flu is one such disease that can hit quite hard and kill the birds at one go, causing loss of expense and effort.

Poultry can be affected by disease in many ways, through the dirty shoes of people who walk in, tires of vehicles, dirty cages and through other animals such as dogs, cats and pigs.

The first preventive measure would be to keep poultry separated from livestock, and since chicken are sensitive, keep them separated from ducks, geese and other birds. Ducks can become affected with avian flu and show no symptoms and carry it on to the chickens. Keep the poultry away from water containing bird droppings.

Keeping the farm isolated by not allowing too many visitors to the farm and ensuring all the vehicles are left outside the farm and if vehicles have to enter, then there should be a facility to get the tires washed at the farm entrance. Workers who need to come in to take care of the birds, should be given separate footwear near the entrance. Any cages or equipment coming from outside should be washed thoroughly.

Dead birds can pose a huge problem to other birds if not discarded immediately in a proper manner. They can be placed in either a plastic bag or a carcass bag and disposed off, either by reporting their death to the concerned authorities, burying them or burning them. Even sick birds should be sent to the veterinary physician immediately.

Ensure a high level of hygiene in the farm. It is a good idea to keep the nose and mouth covered when sneezing and taking even more care when people have cold. Wash all farm equipment including cages, pens and other containers at least once a week. When new poultry is bought, it is necessary to keep them away from the existing flock for a couple of weeks just to ensure they are healthy.

The first thing is to be able to detect avian flu and there are several signs to look for in the birds, beginning with the most obvious, such as loss of appetite, inability to stand and diarrhea. There are other not so obvious signs, such as droopiness, swelling of the head, blood from the nose, less egg production and eggs with soft shells.

If there is an outbreak of avian flu in the neighborhood, it is a good idea to increase all the preventive measures and not to visit other farms as well as not bringing any new birds.

Preventive measures can be taken by ensuring cleanliness and providing utmost care to the birds, if you do not want to see your investment going down the drain.
About the Author
Matthew Smith has been working with poultry for many years. Advice is offered on keeping and raising chickens.
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