Holy flock! The birds are back at New York fairs this summer.

The bans on live poultry shows, exhibitions, auctions, sales, meets, and swaps in New York State are over. The New York State Department of Agriculture issued the bans in March as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) spread across the United States, including in New York.

Chickens
David McNew/Getty Images
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Aggressive Approach

“New York has taken an aggressive approach to slowing the spread of avian influenza and it has paid off," said Commissioner Richard Ball. "With cases decreasing in our state and throughout the country, as well as new data showing very low rates of farm-to-farm transmission of HPAI during the current outbreak, I am confident that it is time to lift the bans on live poultry shows and sales."

Cases of HPAI have decreased nationwide, including in New York State where there has not been a detection of HPAI in nearly two months.

As the state enters the agricultural fair season, phylogenetic studies have shown that the majority of flocks affected in the current outbreak were infected by introductions from wild birds, rather than by farm-to-farm transmission, lending additional confidence to the decision to allow commingling of poultry again.

Chickens
David McNew/Getty Images
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8 Flocks with HPAI

To date, eight flocks in New York have tested positive for HPAI, including a family farm in Monroe County where the entire flock was euthanized.

Summer-ready, that is!
Credit - Marsala Family Farm via YouTube
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Prevent Spread

Commercial and hobby poultry farmers are encouraged to continue practicing good biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of the disease.  Poultry biosecurity materials and checklists can be found on the USDA’s “Defend the Flock” website.

The Agriculture Department has tips to prevent the transmission of disease at poultry shows or swaps:

  • Always transport birds in crates that have been cleaned and disinfected between uses.
  • Do not share equipment or supplies with other exhibitors. Always clean and disinfect any equipment between uses, and especially upon return from a fair, swap, or show.
  • If you take some of your birds to a fair or exhibition, be sure to keep them separated from the rest of your flock for at least 21 days upon return and observe for signs of illness.
  • Keep new additions to your flock separated for at least 30 days before comingling them with the rest of your flock. Be sure to monitor them for any signs of disease.
  • Only purchase birds from reputable sellers and inspect birds thoroughly before purchase. Consider only buying from flocks that participate in the National Poultry Improvement Plan.
  • Always wear clean clothes and footwear when entering areas where poultry are housed.
  • Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling or caring for your birds.
  • If there are any signs of illness or abnormalities in your flock, leave your birds home. Do not bring them to fairs, shows, or other events where they will come into contact with other birds.
  • Know the signs of HPAI: sudden death of birds, drop in egg production or misshapen eggs, lack of energy or reduced appetite, respiratory signs including nasal discharge or difficulty breathing, swelling of the eyes and head, or purplish discoloration of combs, wattles, or legs.
  • Report sick or dying poultry to the Department at (518) 457-3502 or dai@agriculture.ny.gov.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health risk associated with these avian influenza detections remains low.

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