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Fair poultry must be tested for avian flu

July 20, 2022

It’s that time again ... the Boundary County Fair is right around the corner! The poultry barn has a face-lift this year with some new cages, a fresh coat of paint on the old cages, and a shaded cover running the entire length of the barn! The 4-H group is exited to show off their updated digs, as well as take care of their birds and all entries for open class birds during the five days of fair. Once again, all birds entered in the poultry classes will need to be tested for avian flu.

In a normal year, this testing would be more of a formality than a necessity, but avian flu (also known as H1N1) is rearing its ugly head this year and has been cropping up all over the country, causing concern with commercial and backyard farmers alike, making this testing date more important than ever for anyone interested in taking poultry to the fair this year.

Good biosecurity will be in practice at the testing; everyone bringing in poultry will be asked to step up to the table one family/group of birds at a time, with all other birds waiting safely in air conditioned vehicles or in the shade, well back from the testing area.

Testing will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, in the back parking lot at the Boundary County Extension Office. Tests will be administered on a first come, first served basis, with testing tables disinfected between testing groups.

Symptoms of the Avian Flu include:
  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Lack of energy or appetite
  • Decreased Egg production or soft-shelled/misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of head, comb, eyelid, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple discoloration off wattles, comb, and legs
  • Nasal Discharge, coughing, and sneezing
  • Incoordination
  • Diarrhea

There have been reports of avian flu as close as Spokane so everyone is advised to practice good biosecurity with their birds, including dedicated footwear and clothing when caring for your birds, as well as making sure all of your backyard poultry including ducks, geese, and turkeys are not allowed to mingle with wild birds. It is also advised while an outbreak is in progress to cease feeding wild birds such as song birds as they can easily land in infected feces and then carry it into your backyard poultry yard.

But there is good news: H1N1 is an easily killed virus with heat, sunlight and disinfectant, so the higher temperatures have been helping to stop this spread of avian flu, with no new outbreaks reported in the past month. It is possible for this virus to be spread to humans, but the instances of this happening are very rare and not likely with the practice of good biosecurity measures.

As an extra precaution, the Poultry Barn will be closed for Family Fun Night Thursday Evening starting at 6 p.m. If anyone has any questions feel free to contact the University of Idaho Extension office at (208) 267-3235 or contact poultry barn superintendent and 4-H poultry leader Amy Tye at (208) 267-2233.

Thanks goes out to Carter Country for donating feed for this year's poultry entries.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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