1 min read
Backyard chickens

Protecting Backyard Chickens GraphicGood hygiene and common sense practices help prevent disease.

What is avian influenza?

  • Virus carried by migratory and domesticated waterfowl (ducks and geese).
  • Domestic poultry (chickens and turkeys) are susceptible.
  • Virus originates from waterfowl breeding grounds in northern Canada and spreads by wild geese and ducks.
  • Migratory bird flyways cross the United States.

How is the disease transmitted?

  • Foot traffic.
  • Secretions from mouth, nostrils, eyes, excrement.
  • Contact with infected droppings.
  • Movement of infected birds.
  • Contaminated clothing and equipment.

Protecting Backyard Flocks

  • Cover coops and runs.
  • Wear dedicated clothing and shoes
  • Wash hands before and after entering coop.
  • Lock all birds in coop and run.
  • Change food and water daily.
  • Remove birdhouses, feeders, and baths.
  • Clean and disinfect equipment in contact with birds or droppings.
  • Avoid feed stores, vet offices, and other places with small flocks, as much as possible.


Reviewed by  Brigid McCrea, Extension Specialist, Poultry Science with Auburn University. Originally by Joseph Hess, former Extension Specialist, and Ken Macklin, former Extension Specialist, both in Poultry Science with Auburn University.

Reviewed March 2023, Protecting Backyard Flocks, ANR-2399

New March 2023, Cómo proteger las aves de corral, ANR-2399-S

Download this article as a PDF