Bird flu cases rising again in Colorado, flock owners encouraged to take protective measures

A caged chicken.
A caged chicken.(Tobin Jones / AMISOM Photo)
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 5:23 PM MDT
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STATEWIDE, Colo. (KJCT) - Bird flu cases are on the rise in Colorado again.

On Sept. 21, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed a new detection of bird flu in a commercial egg-laying facility in Weld County shortly before another instance was confirmed in a Blue Winged Teal Duck in Boulder County. Two days later, another instance was detected in Larimer County.

Fortunately, no recent infections have been detected in Mesa County, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website.

With multiple detections over the past week, the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office says to keep being cautious as migratory birds move across the state. “Right now it’s critical that Colorado’s backyard and commercial poultry flock owners keep up the biosecurity measures they have been implementing since the beginning of the outbreak this spring,” said Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. “HPAI is a disease with high mortality that can wipe out entire domestic poultry flocks in less than 72 hours.”

Baldwin also says that the best thing flock owners can do is to limit interactions between wild and domestic birds as much as possible. The CDA states that bird flu is highly contagious and fatal in domestic poultry, and wild birds can act as a reservoir for the virus.

Wild birds can also act as an indicator that the virus is in your area. The CDA says that if you see three or more dead wild birds in a single area within a two week period, or see live birds showing signs of illness, you should contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.

The CDA suggests that bird owners take the following measures to protect their flocks:

INCREASE BIOSECURITY: Poultry owners must immediately increase biosecurity measures to protect their birds from HPAI. The USDA Defend the Flock website has helpful resources for keeping poultry healthy in any operation. Commercial poultry producers can use this toolkit to assess their biosecurity practices and preparedness.

MONITOR: Monitor your flock for clinical signs of HPAI, including monitoring production parameters (feed and water consumption, egg production) and increased illness and death. Any changes in production parameters that could indicate HPAI should be reported.

REPORT: Veterinarians and producers must report any suspicious disease events in poultry flocks to the State Veterinarian’s office at 303-869-9130. If it is after hours, the voicemail message will indicate which veterinarian is on call.

If you have sick birds or birds that have died from unknown causes, help is available at the Colorado Avian Health Call Line at CSU, 970-297-4008.