Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, a highly contagious, fatal, flu-like disease of poultry, has been spreading across the state since February. Cornell Cooperative Extension said in a release that as of April 19, New York has seen the disease in 8 domestic flocks: One commercial, one captive wild birds, and the remainder were backyard flocks. Over 10,000 birds have died or have been euthanized.
These positive cases started in the eastern region of the state but have moved westward over the spring season.
In March, the State Ag Department announced the state would proactively ban all live fowl shows and exhibitions. This meant that fairs, public hatching events, fowl shows, and other events like them would not be allowed until further notice. This ban was expanded April 14 to include all fowl auctions and other events where people can purchase, sell, swap, or trade fowl. The reasoning behind this update was the same as the original notice from March: to limit the congregation of poultry from different farms and homesteads to reduce the spread of disease. At this time, the ban does not include individual farms selling poultry, farm supply stores, chicks being shipped into the state from hatcheries, poultry processors that operate under a 5A or USDA Exemption, or live bird markets.
While both bans are in place until further notice, the situation will be re-evaluated at the end of May.
In the meantime, it’s important that poultry owners remain on high alert for any unusual illness or deaths in their poultry flocks.
Any suspicious illness can be reported to the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets by calling 518-457-3502 or contacting the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office in Chautauqua County at 716-664-9502.