AVIAN INFLUENZA ADVISORY for Small Flock Owners and Bird Fanciers

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Industry Advisory
Animal Health and Welfare Branch
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

As of April 21, 2015, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of a highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza virus on two commercial poultry farms near Woodstock, Ontario. This virus has been spreading across North America along the migratory pathways of wild waterfowl, so the risk is not confined to Oxford County.

People who raise small flocks or game birds for personal or limited commercial purposes should be aware of the risks of moving or commingling poultry. If infected birds are moved through an auction, or “swap meet”, then the AI virus can be transferred to multiple new locations. Birds that appear to be healthy can be infected and can transmit AI to other birds before exhibiting any signs of disease themselves.

“During an avian influenza outbreak, attending any poultry event can increase the risk of spreading diseases through infected birds, and contaminated people or equipment.” (Dr. Tom Baker, Incident Commander, Feather Board Command Centre)

“ Small flock owners have an important role to play in minimizing the spread of HPAI. If the virus continues to spread within Ontario, the consequences to Ontario poultry owners could be severe, in terms of reduced markets for birds, eggs, poultry products and genetics.” (Dr. Greg Douglas, Chief Veterinarian for Ontario)
At this time, small flock owners are being strongly advised to take the following precautions:
• Do NOT attend shows, sales, and swap meets.
• Do NOT allow people who have recently been in contact with other birds (e.g., their own or attending a bird sale or show) near your birds.
• Do NOT share equipment with other bird owners.
• Do NOT add new birds to your flock until the outbreak has ended since this is the number one means of bringing in disease.

Be extremely diligent in observing your birds. Monitor mortalities and track feed and water consumption. Watch for any signs of disease, such as depression, decreased feed consumption, drop in egg production, swollen wattles, sneezing, gasping, a discharge from the nose or eyes, diarrhea or sudden death.

Early detection is critical. Should you suspect any signs of health concerns in your flock, contact your veterinarian immediately, or call the CFIA Avian Influenza Diagnostic and Surveillance number 519-691- 0615.

Avian influenza (AI) can infect domesticated and wild birds, including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quails, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl. HPAI can cause severe illness and death in domestic birds. Birds become infected when they have direct contact with the secretions or feces of infected birds, or with contaminated surfaces or infected food and water supplies.
Additional information is available at:

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