For Immediate Release
November 25, 2022
Media contact: Jim Britt
Animal Health Officials Remind Bird Owners to Protect Flocks from HPAI
AUGUSTA- Maine Animal Health officials with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) remind commercial and backyard flock owners to keep birds indoors to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Today’s reminder follows the detection of HPAI in a small, non-commercial group of backyard birds in Washington County.
HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including through wild birds, contact with infected poultry, equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. Starting in February 2022, DACF reported detecting 14 cases of the disease in domestic birds, all involving non-commercial backyard flocks. DACF found these cases in six counties across the state.
Practical measures to protect the health of Maine’s domestic birds:
- Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed.
- Practice strict biosecurity measures, including washing hands before and after handling birds and when moving between different coops, wearing clean clothes, and keeping vehicles clean and free of dirt, manure, and other organic material.
- Disinfect boots and other gear when moving between coops.
- Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
- Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies between uses.
- Use well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
- Keep poultry feed secure to ensure no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.
- Avoid visiting other farms, homes, or facilities with birds.
- Know the signs of HPAI and monitor the health of birds regularly.
For a snapshot of HPAI in Maine, frequently asked questions, and additional HPAI resources, visit maine.gov/dacf/hpai.
To report sick poultry or unusual domestic bird deaths, call the USDA’s toll-free hotline at 1-866-536-7593.
To report a strange-acting or dead wild bird, call the MDIFW at (207) 287-8000. After hours, evenings, and on weekends, please call (800) 452-4664.