October 28, 2013
Backyard birdowners in the Young and Cowra districts are being advised to check the health of their chickens and other birds daily and to report any unusual signs.
NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said there was a heightened need for vigilance from backyard birdowners following the detection of H7 Avian Influenza on a second property north of Young.
“The emergency response team are contacting commercial producers but we would also like backyarders in the broader Young-Cowra district to be monitoring their flocks and aviaries more closely than usual at this time,” Mr Roth said.
“People who notice sick or dead birds should contact their local veterinarian or call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888 FREE.”
Mr Roth said the clinical signs of Avian Influenza were variable.
Infected birds may die shortly after acquiring the infection with no obvious signs or they may show signs including:
• breathing difficulties, coughing, swollen heads, dark comb and wattles;
• depression, drop in egg production, changes in egg shell colour, loss of appetite, decreased feed intake and decreased vocalization; and
• nervous signs like tremors of the head, unsteady gate, twisted necks and other unusual positions of the head and body sometimes occur.
Avian Influenza can infect a very wide range of birds including chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, quails, guinea fowl, partridges, pheasants, ostriches and a large number of aviary and wild birds especially waterfowl like ducks, geese and swans.
Mr Roth said good biosecurity was also important for birdowners to minimise the risk of Avian Influenza entering their flocks and aviaries.
Tips for good biosecurity
• Do not share equipment with other bird keepers, unless it has been thoroughly disinfected.
• Restrict access of other animals, particularly rodents and wild birds, to your bird areas with good fencing and netting.
• Prevent domestic birds from coming into contact with aquatic wild birds by restricting access of your birds to open ponds, lakes, dams and creeks.
• Make sure your clothes, footwear and hands are clean before contact with birds. Any essential visitors should do the same.
• Inspect birds daily and clean bird areas weekly.
• Clean concrete floors, walls and aviary wire, and clean and disinfect feed containers regularly.
MEDIA NOTE: It is critical that the media and other unauthorised people respect biosecurity and quarantine arrangements and do not enter an infected property.