Bird Watching

Bird Flu Hits Backyard and Commercial Farms in the Midwest | KCUR 89.3

Avian flu case were confirmed in a commercial flock of 50,000 turkeys in Iowa, a commercial broiler operation of 360,000 in Missouri, and a flock of more than 36,000 mixed bird species in South Dakota.

The highly contagious virus has also reached backyard flocks in Iowa, Missouri and Michigan, among other states.

Poultry farmers, backyard flock owners, state officials and scientists are closely watching the spread of a deadly strain of bird flu across the eastern half of the United States during an outbreak in 2014-2015, over 50 million birds were destroyed, with most of the impact in Iowa and Minnesota.

Agriculture officials are warning people to be especially careful with their flocks and to keep them away from wild birds during spring migration.

“We encourage anyone who has outdoor birds or backyard birds to ensure that this interaction with wild birds is closely monitored,” Iowa State Veterinarian Jeff Kaisand said on a call with reporters after the state’s first case was confirmed in a backyard herd. chickens and ducks.

Laura Krouse raises 125 hens on pasture near Mount Vernon, Iowa. Right now her birds are kept in a coop inside a shed, so she said she wasn’t too worried about bird flu. But it’s in his mind.

“That would be a pretty big bite out of my income,” Krouse said. “I depend on my egg sales.”

Kevin Stiles, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association, pointed out that farmers have methods in place to keep diseases out of their farms.

They practice “biosecurity” an industry term meaning to keep diseases and viruses away from birds and humans. Producers often do things like wash their boots before entering a barn, shower before entering their barn and when they leave, and limiting visitors to their farm.

“It’s important to know that our farmers are well prepared and have comprehensive on-farm practices in place to prevent the spread of disease,” Stiles said in a statement. “On-farm biosecurity is at an all-time high, and we will remain at this heightened level of protection for the foreseeable future.”

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Harvest Public Media reports on food systems, agriculture, and rural issues through a collaborative network of NPR stations throughout the Midwest and Plains.