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Highly pathogenic avian influenza for noncommercial poultry flock owners

By Wayne Martin, Extension Educator, Alternative Livestock and Abby Schuft, Extension Educator, Poultry History of avian influenza Researchers found highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 1878. They discerned it from other poultry diseases that shared a high death rate. Current evidence suggests that HPAI changed over time. Strains before 1996 had a low risk of causing disease. Later, strains appeared more often and affected millions of chickens and other poultry. HPAI Outbreak of 2014 – 2015 In 2014 – 2015, HPAI hit North America, which led to the loss of almost 50 million chickens and turkeys. The outbreak began on the west coast and moved through British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. Highly pathogenic avian influenza affected only one commercial flock on the west coast. The other cases occurred in what were considered “backyard” poultry flocks, which included a pheasant farm with over 5,000 birds. Highly pathogenic avian influenza arrived in the Midwest in Mar
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Eurasian HPAI in Canada

By Carol Cardona, Professor and Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health for the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota The news of a Eurasian strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) detection in a flock of birds of mixed species on the East coast of Canada greatly increases the possibility of HPAI coming to Minnesota. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans have prevented the movement of HPAI circulating in Asia and Europe from coming to the Americas. Now that the biggest barrier has been breached, the risk of HPAI in the US has greatly increased. The sequence of the hemagglutinin gene (the H in H5N1) from this case has been classified as a member of clade of the goose Guandong lineage. That means that this gene is related to the virus that caused the 2014-2015 HPAI outbreak (which was a clade virus of the goose Guandong lineage). The goose Guandong family of viruses has spread previously in wild birds. Although we don’t know how a clade HPAI viru

Outdoor stocking density and free-range broiler welfare

Author: Hannah Phillips, graduate student, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) Quick facts Free-range broilers with less outdoor space may sunbathe, aggressively attack, stretch, or pant more than those with more outdoor space. Extra outdoor space may slightly improve broiler welfare, but the quality of outdoor space is likely more important than its size. Free-range broilers should have access to shade structures and an ample amount of forage cover. Outdoor access for free-range broilers Free-range broilers require outdoor access. Many believe that more outdoor space improves broiler welfare, but there is little research to support this idea. Therefore, in our study, published in the journal Animals, we evaluated if the amount of outdoor space affects broiler welfare. How we conducted the study In this study, we raised Freedom-Ranger broilers at high (5 sq. ft. per broiler) and low (27 sq. ft. per broiler) outdoor stocking densities. We evaluated behavi

End of an era at Rosemount Turkey Research Facility

Rosemount turkey research unit – key accomplishments  Tuesday, December 1, 2020 marks the final day of operation for the turkey research facility at the Rosemount Research and Outreach Center (RROC). After careful consideration and consultation with College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences leadership, The University of Minnesota has made the difficult but necessary decision to cease turkey research at our RROC. The facility is more than 50 years old and is antiquated by today’s modern turkey production standards. It is cost prohibitive to maintain and upgrade the barn to the present expectations of the industry, especially since the sale of nearby land limits the viability of that location to no more than five years. It has become increasingly difficult to garner research grants given the condition of the facility. You can read more from Dr. Mike Schutz, Head of the Department of Animal Science and the continued plans UMN has to support and engage in research, tea

Outdoor activities can increase disease risk in home or commercial flocks

By Carol Cardona, Extension specialist, poultry virologist A single duck can excrete billions of influenza virus particles per day. Influenza virus survives in cold, moist conditions and is preserved by freezing. These characteristics result in heavy contamination of pond and slough water, especially when the water is cold. Hunting, trapping, hiking and fishing activities bring people into contact with virus in mud and water that can then be moved to poultry flocks on things like contaminated boots, vehicles and dogs. Clothing Clothing, especially boots, can carry virus in mud or water into poultry barns where it can infect the flock. Anything that is worn in a wild bird environment must be removed and not brought into the poultry barn at all. Clothes and shoes worn for any hunting, fishing, trapping, training dogs, or hiking activities need to be different than the ones used for work related activities. Avoid cross contamination at home. When you return home from any hunting, fishi

Take time to evaluate biosecurity this fall

By Abby Schuft, Extension Educator – Poultry, Carol Cardona, Extension specialist and poultry virologist and Sally Noll, Extension poultry scientist November 10, 2020 Through diligent surveillance, two Minnesota turkey farms have detected low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). These incidents should make every poultry employee, manager and owner step-back and think about possible complacency in their biosecurity practices.  An influenza virus needs a host in order to grow and Minnesota has plenty of hosts to offer within our poultry industry and thriving waterfowl habitats. Clinical symptoms for LPAI are minimal with no physical symptoms while some birds may exhibit respiratory distress.  The risk of LPAI spreading occurs mainly from indirect or direct contact with virus contaminated: People  Equipment  Wild birds  Line of Separation Barn biosecurity is key! A line of separation (LOS) around each barn and farm unit will separate clean areas (where birds are housed) from dirty areas (po

Biosecurity Plan Audits for Poultry Producers due by September 20, 2020

Reprinted at the request: Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory and The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Veterinary Services (USDA-APHIS-VS) is giving poultry producers until September 20, 2020 to have a written biosecurity plan in place, audited and rated satisfactory. This is a requirement of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (Board) is responsible for the biosecurity auditing process in Minnesota. If you would like to have a biosecurity plan audit conducted and have not been contacted by the Board:  Please call their office at 320-231-5170 or email them at so they can provide you the necessary information, details and timeline. The biosecurity plan audits are paper audits, no site visits are required. Why poultry producers should complete an audit by September 20, 2020: Producers without an audit will not be eligible for USDA-APHIS-VS indemnity or co