Welcome to Cluck It All Farms, where biosecurity becomes an epic adventure! Alright, folks, let's be real here—keeping our chickens safe isn't always sunshine and rainbows. It's more like a chore that makes you go, "Ugh!" and "Seriously, why?" But hey, love for our feathered friends keeps us going. So, let's dive into the exciting world of biosecurity!
It's 2022 and I'm sure you've heard about those heart-wrenching reports of poultry farms around the country having to say goodbye to millions of chickens and turkeys due to the dreaded HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza). What a colossal waste! It breaks our hearts, and we've even got a tear-jerking YouTube video to prove it. Check it out here. (grab those tissues!). We believe everyone with a backyard flock needs a reality check. Let's face it together!
To stay in the know, you can keep track of wild bird cases in your area on the USDA APHIS website. Plus, there's an awesome Google map created by an individual (you'll find it here). Oh, and guess what? We've had a couple of Bald Eagle deaths just a hop, skip, and a cluck away from our location, signaling that HPAI is lurking in our neighborhood. It's time to put our biosecurity superhero capes on!
Now, what makes HPAI different from your everyday bird flu? Well, there are low pathogenic strains that might give your flock a minor setback, like a tiny sneeze. No biggie! But highly pathogenic strains are like a villain's death sentence for chickens and turkeys. As for waterfowl, it's a game of "will they, won't they survive." And humans? While no known cases have been reported in the US this year (fingers crossed!), we don't want to play that infection game.
Now, listen up, fellow chicken enthusiasts! I'm part of several Facebook groups, and you won't believe how often I see people still letting their flocks free range. It's their choice, and we respect that, even if we might secretly disagree. But here's what gets our feathers ruffled—some folks actually believe it's no big deal and shame those of us who responsibly isolate our flocks. Cluckin' outrageous, right?
So, what can you do to keep your flock safe from HPAI? Let's break it down with a touch of humor:
Step one: Say "buh-bye" to wild birds! Scare them off like a chicken ninja. No bird feeders, tidy up that yard, and give those wild ducks and geese a polite eviction notice. Wild birds are the main culprits in spreading HPAI. No welcome mat for them!
Step two: Coop it up like a rockstar! Keep your flock snug in their secure, covered run. It's like their own VIP area, but with no overhead birdie droppings. And remember, no secret entry passes for wild birds!
Step three: Handwashing boogie! Scrub those hands and give your shoes a bath before and after entering the run/coop. If you want to go fancy, rock some foot coverings. Just make sure they go on like a superstar without touching the outside ground. Balancing act? Yeah, it might suck a little, especially if your balance is a bit wonky, but it's worth it for our feathery friends!
Step four: Let's keep it clean and bird-free! Ensure your feed and water are pristine, free of contamination, and out of reach for those pesky wild birds. If your flock is already undercover, you're golden!
Now, let's talk symptoms. Watch out for decreased egg production, puffy heads that could rival a celebrity hairstyle, eyelids, combs, wattles, and hocks that look like they've hit the gym, nasal discharge (chicken sneezes, anyone?), lack of coordination (a chicken dance gone wrong), or sudden unexplained chicken disappearances. If your flock is acting funky, don't hesitate to reach out to your local vet, state vet's office, or USDA APHIS. They're the chicken whisperers who'll save the day!
So, my fabulous chicken pals, let's embrace the biosecurity adventure at Cluck It All Farms! We'll protect our feathered comrades from the villainous HPAI while having a clucking good time. Trust us, being responsible doesn't have to be a drag. It can be a wild, quirky, and fun-filled journey. Here's to healthy, happy flocks and a farm life that's anything but ordinary! 🐔