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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 April 2022, Protecting Backyard Flocks, ANR-2399

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