OLYMPIA – With the fall migration underway across the nation, Washington state is preparing for an uptick in highly pathogenic avian influenza cases. Veterinarians predict newly infected wild birds will join the already infected, resident wild waterfowl populations thus increasing the risk of transmission to backyard flocks.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture urges bird owners to focus on keeping wild waterfowl away from domestic birds this fall. The best way to protect flocks is to self-report high numbers of sick or dead birds and report the health of flocks if they are located nearby an infected flock, avoid contact with migratory waterfowl, fence birds out of shared water sources, and eliminate outdoor feeders especially at night.
In addition to the added safety measures, flock owners can use the domestic sick bird online reporting tool to report sick or dead domestic birds online. The online tool complements the existing WSDA sick bird reporting hotline as well as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s online reporting tool for wild birds.
Veterinarians also continue to recommend avoiding bringing birds to fairs, exhibitions, poultry auctions, and on-farm sales.