Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Important Poultry Update

Poultry Update
 The following message is for all members and families enrolled in the Bird and Poultry Project. Please distribute to any families this may impact.

     On June 1, 2015, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) issued a statement cancelling all poultry shows and exhibitions held in Michigan as a precaution against the spread of avian influenza. This decision affects all 4‐H poultry shows at county and regional fairs, as well as other local 4‐H events, until further notice. Co-mingling animals from various flocks and facilities at these types of events provides an opportunity for diseases to spread quickly.
      In addition, for the health and safety of all birds, no avian species will be allowed to be displayed as part of any 4‐H project, whether at a show, a club or group meeting, a petting zoo, or at any other event or venue. The affected birds include, but are not limited to, those that are part of Michigan 4‐H’s poultry (such as chickens, pheasants, turkeys, quail, water fowl, guinea fowl and pea fowl) and exotic bird projects (such as emus and ostriches). 
     MSU Extension understands that the cancellation of 4‐H poultry shows is disappointing to the many 4‐H youth and volunteers who have invested their time and talent into poultry projects. While unfortunate, the decision is in the best interest of the state’s poultry farmers, backyard hobbyists and 4‐H families who participate in the poultry project.

Some things to keep in mind:
  • MDARD’s decision is a precautionary measure made in the interest of animal and public health, as well to protect Michigan’s poultry population. The avian influenza virus has not been found in Michigan, and there are currently no known cases of HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) in the state.      
  • The strains of HPAI affecting other states are not zoonotic (capable of being passed from animals to humans or vice versa); no human infections have been detected at this time. The CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI viruses to be low, so families with poultry projects should not be concerned about contracting the virus themselves. However, it is recommended that families use proper biosecurity practices to minimize the risk to themselves. 
Ways to keep your flock healthy:
  • Washing and disinfecting hands, boots, gear and equipment when going from one coop to another.
  • Not sharing equipment with other farmers or between coops.
  • Washing and disinfecting equipment between uses. 
  • Providing birds with well water or municipal water – not surface water – to drink.  
  • Keeping poultry feed secure so that there is no contact between feed or feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.  
  • Preventing contact between wild and domestic birds. 
  • Separating birds that show any sign of illness and caring for them only after caring for healthy birds. 
  • Wearing only clean clothing and footwear that has not been worn in a home coop at public venues such as fairs or into other producers’ facilities.

What this means for Jackson County:  4-H members will not be bringing their projects to the fairgrounds for the 2015 Jackson County Fair. We are in the process of working with the state 4-H office, the Fairgrounds, and Poultry Superintendents to provide alternative opportunities for youth to demonstrate their skills. We will update this website once decisions have been made and additional information becomes available. 

For additional information, please visit the MDARD website: