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Poultry owners urged to be careful after "bird flu" found in Ionia Co.

Hens in chicken coop
Wikimedia Commons
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Hens in chicken coop

State officials are urging hobby farmers and commercial companies to take precautions after bird flu was detected in an Ionia County flock

It’s extremely rare for humans to be affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly known as “bird flu,” but strains are deadly to domestic poultry and can wipe out entire flocks within days.

This week, state officials released it’s been confirmed in a commercial poultry facility in Ionia County.

“The farm has been placed under quarantine and the birds will be depopulated.”

Jennifer Holton is the communications director for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Because wild birds migrating north can carry the disease, she says its crucial for every producer in Michigan to protect their animals from coming in contact.

“Whether it’s someone who has a few backyard birds – like turkeys, ducks, chickens, whatnot - or a commercial facility, the potential for introduction is quite real.”

Those biosecurity measures include disinfecting boots and equipment when moving between coops, not sharing equipment or water sources where possible and making sure outdoor pens are fully enclosed.

Holton says her agency is highly proactive when it comes to commercial egg producers.

“Any farm that has confirmed detection of highly pathogenic avian flu is not going to be entering the food supply so there is no food safety concern.”

This is believed to be an extension of the first outbreak detected in Michigan in 2022.

No one can know if it will spread but proactive action by bird owners can help keep it contained.

“The only thing we can do is work with our farming community to provide them with guidance to get those biosecurity measures in place and tighten them down as much as possible.”

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