How to Prevent Bird Flu in Chickens

What To Do If Your Birds Have Bird Flu

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Several years ago, the bird flu spread quickly and infected birds all over the world. Every chicken keeper in the world was aware of the deadly effects of avian influenza. 

How to Prevent Bird Flu in Chickens

The bird flu became the number one cause of death for chickens in Asia and around the world.  The bird flu is thought to have originated in China.  It killed millions of chickens and basically halted their chicken industry.  

How to Prevent Bird Flu in Chickens

Although this is a strain of flu that spreads quickly among chickens, it can also infect humans.  The virus can be passed from chicken to chicken, from chicken to human, from human to human, and from human to chicken.  For this reason, health officials all over are taking this disease seriously to stop the spread.

Bird Flu in Chickens Symptoms

The bird flu in chickens is much more serious than a common cold.  If just one bird gets infected, it can kill the entire flock within a week.  If it is passed from a chicken to a human, that person can infect hundreds of people before they even realize that they are sick.  Avian flu affects people of all ages, including children and the elderly.

If a human being gets infected, it can take about three to five days from the time of exposure to experience symptoms.  The first symptoms or signs of bird flu in people are similar to the cold symptoms.  The person may have a fever, sore throat, cough, or muscle aches.  Some people will have conjunctivitis.  

bird flu symptoms

If the person doesn’t get treatment, the disease can quickly progress and get more severe.  The bird flu can lead to viral pneumonia and even acute respiratory distress.  These respiratory problems are the leading cause of death for people who get the bird flu.

How to Prevent Bird Flu

Raising chickens has several benefits, including fresh eggs and meat if you choose to use your birds for meat.  However, raising a flock of backyard chickens also takes a lot of work.  There are several problems that can arise, including avian flu.

One way chicken keepers can prevent the bird flu is by keeping the coop and their chicken area very clean.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has studied diseases around the world, and they have guidelines for keeping you and your flock safe. 

They are also in charge of tracking chickens and people who are afflicted with bird flu and studying how it travels.  They keep records of confirmed cases and deaths from diseases.  If there are a lot of cases in an area, WHO will put that area under quarantine.

How to Prevent Bird Flu

When an area is in quarantine, people who are in that area will not be allowed to leave.  Those outside of that area can not enter the area.  It’s important for agencies, including WHO, to have accurate information otherwise more people and chickens will be affected, which can save lives.

Since avian flu can quickly spread around the world, governments also have strict rules if the virus enters their country.  People in that area are asked to report signs or symptoms of this and other diseases and to be on the watch for potential bird flu cases.  This helps protect both humans and chickens, and it can save many lives if those affected are quarantined quickly.

How Do Birds Get Bird Flu?

Avian Influenza can be caused by dirty conditions and exacerbated by cold weather.  It’s important to determine what causes the bird flu so you can take prevention measures to stop the spread.  As a chicken keeper, it’s less expensive to prevent bird flu than to treat it and to risk losing your flock or being infected yourself.

Although you can’t change the weather, it’s still important to recognize that cold weather can increase the risk of bird flu in your flock.  Like human influenza, the bird flu is passed around quicker in cold weather.  The birds tend to be closer together in their coop, and the virus quickly jumps from bird to bird.  

How Do Birds Get Bird Flu?

To protect your flock, you can keep them healthy by supporting their immune systems.  Feed them healthy food so they get plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep their bodies healthy.  You can also immunize your chickens to protect them from some diseases.

A dirty coop can also help avian flu spread.  Your coop and the area in their pen and around it should be kept very clean.  Whether you use wood shavings or straw, clean it regularly to prevent contamination from fecal matter.  

When you clean the coop, protect yourself by wearing rubber boots, gloves, and a face mask with a respirator so you don’t breathe in the dust particles from the litter.  By keeping your coop and the area around it clean, you can stop the virus from spreading as fast.  

What To Do If Your Birds Have Bird Flu

If you suspect that your chickens have avian flu, the disease can spread through a coop quickly.  You should take precautions immediately to stop the spread.  Wash your hands with soap and water every time you are near your chickens or in the coop.  Even if you don’t handle your chickens or touch anything in the coop, wash your hands when you are done.

In addition to keeping your chickens healthy, it’s important to keep yourself healthy.  Get exercise and eat a healthy diet to support your immune system.

If you suspect that one of your chickens has avian flu, call your vet right away.  Your chicken can be treated with an antiviral medication to reduce the symptoms and the severity of the disease.  However, these medications can not always prevent death.

What To Do If Your Birds Have Bird Flu

Practice good hygiene when handling raw chicken in the house.  Disinfect cutting boards with chlorine bleach to kill germs.  To effectively kill germs, dilute 4 to 6 teaspoons of bleach in a gallon of water.

The bird flu isn’t a common condition for chickens, but it can decimate an entire flock in a matter of days.  It’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of the bird flu so that you can isolate sick chickens and take precautions to protect the rest of your birds and your family.  Keep your coop clean and practice good hygiene when you are around your flock to prevent the spread of this disease.

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