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Biosecurity reminder for MN poultry producers

Compiled by the UMN Extension Poultry Team

The detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial turkeys in South Carolina is a good reminder that poultry in Minnesota are at risk. The memories of 2015 begin to fade, thankfully, but the new habits adopted because of our own HPAI experiences need to stay. The keys to preventing HPAI in MN are:

Early detection

Any unexplained increase in mortality, decreased egg production, respiratory or neurologic (twisted necks or quiet) signs of disease should be followed with a submission of swabs or birds to the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL) or Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL). Make sure that the people who look at your birds everyday (either you, your workers), know what to look for.

Prevent exposure

1. Line of separation. Follow safe entry and exit procedures into the barn carefully. Spring weather can make Danish entry systems difficult because of mud, rain, wind and other shifting conditions. At the same time, puddles and other standing water may attract waterfowl to get even closer to barns. This is the time to really focus on safe barn entries.

2. Review practices that create additional exposure risks and avoid doing them as much as possible. Decrease the number of times you do risky things or, to be safer, stop doing them altogether. The following common activities have contributed to HPAI spread: 
  • Movement of new stock into an existing flock such spiking males in broiler breeder flocks
  • Farm to farm movement of mortality as may occur on rendering routes
  • Farm to farm movement of nest run eggs
  • Tilling litter
  • Sharing labor or having people move between flocks
  • Sharing equipment that has not been washed and sanitized. 
3. Make sure garbage and dead birds are picked up outside of your perimeter buffer area. One of the most common ways that HPAI moves around is through the movement of dead birds and garbage off the farm.

4. Test before you move. Test birds before movement to make sure the birds are safe to move. Key testing includes:
  • Turkeys before marketing
  • Breeders before moving to lay or stud farms
  • Pullets before movement to egg production farms


If you see something, say something. Remind everyone you talk to about their role in your farm’s biosecurity. Evaluate your risks, ask questions and participate in protecting your flocks!

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