Birds become infected when they have direct contact with the ocular or nasal discharge or feces from infected birds or from contact with contaminated surfaces, food or water supply.
There is an increased risk of AI infection to poultry flocks during spring and fall wild bird migration.
AI can be brought into a barn as a result of lapses in biosecurity, and it is most often transmitted from one infected commercial flock to another by movement of infected birds, contaminated equipment or people.
All poultry farmers should monitor bird mortality, and track flock feed and water consumption. Monitor for clinical signs of AI infection, such as depression, decreased feed consumption, a drop-in egg production, swollen wattles, sneezing, gasping, discharge from the nose or eyes, diarrhea or sudden death.
If you have any concerns regarding the health status of your flock, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Key steps to reduce the risk of AI infection in your flock include:
- Adequate training of farm and company personnel in biosecurity and disease prevention measures.
- All people entering poultry barns, including farmers, employees and service providers must put on clean footwear, protective clothing and follow all biosecurity protocols each time a barn is entered.
- Minimize visits to other poultry production sites and avoid co‐mingling of birds from multiple sources as well as contact with outside/wild birds.
- Avoid exchanging and sharing equipment with other poultry production sites or farms.
- Ensure all vehicles and farm equipment that access the barn vicinity are properly washed, disinfected and thoroughly dried before use.
- Ensure that laneways are secured and have restricted access.
- Prevent wild bird and rodent entry to poultry barns and related facilities.
- Ensure that bedding is free of contaminants including feces from wild animals.
- If possible, “heat treat” the barn/litter ahead of chick or poult placement (to 30°C for at least 3 days).