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Receiving shipments of chicks during the COVID-19 pandemic

We hope this message finds you doing well, staying healthy, and looking forward to the growing season. It will be hear soon, in spite of all that is going on in the world around us. Many of you grow and sell broilers and/or eggs, and right now are receiving boxes of chicks, goslings, or ducklings in the mail at the post office.

A note of caution regarding shipping packages is worth considering. According to the Center for Disease Control, a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. While it is important to remember that this is probably not the main way the virus spreads, nonetheless it is possible to transmit it via this method. A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health, demonstrated that the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols (up to 3 hours) and on surfaces (cardboard up to 24 hours, plastic and…
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Important update on COVID-19 as it applies to poultry

by Carol J. Cardona,DVM, PhD, DACPV Ben Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health
College of Veterinary Medicine | University of Minnesota

We are all watching the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolds. Each day, it seems this virus leaves us with more questions than answers. Although we can’t solve most of these issues, there are a few things we know and they can be addressed.

Does the coronavirus infect poultry or birds? COVID-19 is an important human disease caused by a virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV2). The virus may have originally come from mammals, and genomic sequencing of the virus confirms natural evolution of the virus (Scripps Research Institute). Now, it is a human adapted virus causing a disease that spreads from human to human. Although the virus originally came from non-human mammals, the COVID-19 outbreak no longer involves them.

There are many types of coronaviruses and most vertebrates are hosts to one or more strains. Coronaviruses are R…

Biosecurity: plans, puzzles and people

By Abby Neu Schuft, Extension Educator

NPIP Biosecurity Plan Audits The count-down has begun for producers to complete their first NPIP Biosecurity Plan Audit. Each eligible producer needs to have their first audit complete by September 2020. There are many poultry industry members that still need to complete this process. There are also several who will complete their second audit this fall.

I would like to once again extend the invitation to you all that I am available to help you write your biosecurity plan and prepare for your first and subsequent NPIP audit. We can meet face-to-face, online or by phone. I understand putting pen to paper can be over-whelming, but I’m here to help. Please call (320) 235-0726 ext. 2019 or email (neux0012@umn.edu) and I’ll help you get started!
Biosecurity education and training opportunities Many of you are familiar with or at least aware of the Biosecurity Entry Education Trailer (BEET) at the U. This educational tool has become so adapta…

Promise for customized probiotics in poultry production and beyond

Summarized by Dr. Tim Johnson

The University of Minnesota has recently published an article in mBio that is the culmination of a 6-year collaborative effort to identify and develop custom, tailored probiotics for commercial turkeys. The project was led by Dr. Tim Johnson, but was truly a collaborative effort involving other UMN researchers from the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine (Drs. Carol Cardona and Kent Reed), Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (Dr. Sally Noll), and Biological Sciences (Drs. Dan Knights and Tonya Ward). This project started when Johnson and Noll profiled bacterial populations of high-performing turkeys, and identified several species of bacteria that were strongly correlated with turkey performance. From that work, Johnson’s lab cultured more than 1,000 strains of these target bacteria. They then used a top-down approach that involved whole genome sequencing and live bird experiments to find strains with the greatest potential as probiotics in turke…

Important information for poultry exhibitors at 2019 fairs & exhibitions

There is a shortage of the pullorum antigen used to test all poultry (except turkeys) for Pullorum-Typhoid disease. If the birds you exhibit at the county Fair or Minnesota State Fair originated directly from an National Poultry Improvement Program (NPIP) classified Pullorum-Typhoid Free hatchery or flock, this issue will not affect you. 
If not, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MN BAH) exhibition rules require a test within 90 days of the exhibition. Because MN BAH does not plan to waive the testing requirements at this time, we are trying to preserve what antigen we do have and are encouraging the use of this Poultry Exhibition Statement of Origin form instead of pullorum testing birds if they originated from an NPIP flock or hatchery. 
Additional information on the poultry exhibition requirements can also be found on the Boards website using the links provided below.

BAH Poultry exhibitions

BAH Poultry exhibition requirements

As a reminder, turkeys must still have blood collected…

Bedding source and stocking density affect turkey hen performance and footpad health

By: Gabriella Furo, Ph.D. student
Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota

What is footpad dermatitis (FPD) and why should I care? Footpad dermatitis is a skin inflammation, and a frequently occurring problem in turkey production worldwide, which can affect the turkey performance, including body weight and feed intake. The signs of FPD include thickened scales (hyperkeratosis), discoloration, dark brown and black lesions, ulcers which develop on the footpads and toes of poultry. Footpad dermatitis is associated with potential pain, therefore it is an animal welfare issue, and FPD can affect turkeys at any age.

There are many contributing factors in the development of FPD, such as nutrition, past and existing diseases, but the most important factor is litter moisture. Research studies recommend to keep litter moisture under 30% in order to minimize the incidence of FPD. The lesion develops quickly with early signs seen 24-48 hr after exposing the birds to high litter moi…

Turkey Reoviral Arthritis/Tenosynovitis - Part 4

This is 4th article in a series of 4 By: Rob Porter DVM, PhD, Sunil Mor, DVM, PhD, and Sagar Goyal, DVM, PhD
University of Minnesota, Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab

Although many questions about turkey reoviral arthritis have been addressed in this four-part series, it is clear that despite several years of research and investigation there are many questions remaining to be answered. We are participating in a national effort to address industry concerns about reoviral arthritis.

Turkey reovirus subcommittee - A Reovirus Subcommittee of the National Turkey Federation has met during the last two years and seeks to organize both industry personnel and university researchers to address the TARV issue. The mission is to ensure transparency and collaboration to develop turkey-specific solutions to assist the industry in controlling turkey reoviral arthritis. This subcommittee met at the Minnesota Poultry Federation Convention meeting on March 13, 2019 to identify four focus area…