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anyone following avian flu fears?

 
alex Keenan
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China bans U.S. poultry, eggs imports amid avian flu fears: USDA

(Reuters) - China has banned all imports of U.S. poultry, poultry products and eggs amid recent reports of highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza found in the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday.

All poultry and poultry related products shipped from the United States after Jan. 8 would be returned or destroyed, according to the agency and the U.S. trade group USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

The ban, effective as of Jan. 8, also applies to poultry breeding stock, which includes live chicks and hatching eggs.
 
Guerric Kendall
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Nope, it's never really been a concern to me. I'm pretty vigilant when it comes to biosecurity in my flock, and generally health fears of any sort pass quickly anyway. Just wait 2-3 months.
 
R Scott
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That isn't the real reason, that is just the excuse you can't argue against. Like "it's for the children"

 
Miguel Laroche
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I believe that permaculturalist should not fear avian flu in their chicken flock. In a way I think it's good news for us. While listening to the news it sounds as though they are surprised by how fast the disease is spreading (meanwhile showing footage of 10000 chickens in a 10000sq.ft warehouse...) every time we overload our system with more animals than it can handle, we see increase the rate of diseases and even we discover new diseases we didn't know existed. Make sure to keep your chickens healthy (truly free ranging, access to clean water, ...) and I believe their immune system will fight off avian flu even if they come in contact with it.

Current breeding practice are also to blame, it is my belief that large hatcheries (where most people get their chicks from...) are breeding and creating a breed of stupid lame slow chickens that are only good at laying eggs daily or getting fat fast. We are losing a lot of the gene pool and I believe they also breed the heritage birds poorly so that people stop asking for them. They want people to raise the dumb chicken and they want people to eat GMO corn. When you get heritage bird from a reputable local small farm, you usually endup with chickens that are professional foragers. I also think an egg that comes every other day has to be more nutritious than an egg than comes out every day but I dont have anything to back this up.
 
allen lumley
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- Generally I Try to be a voice of reason and sanity, However- Many kinds of Avian flu exist within several populations of wild birds!

There are places in Alaska where the European and North American birds mingle ! See Link below :

http://www.generationaldynamics.com/pg/xct.gd.e060303.htm

So far I THINK,while Avian flu can and has jumped from birds to humans, to be a true Zoonotic Disease, it then has to be
transferable from person to person, if we believe what our Government tells us this later transmission rate has so far been very low !


Two things, 1)a poultry worker with little or no health benefits and a minimum wage job will not take a day off from work just because
he/she feels poorly, they can not afford too ! 2) If a certain threshold is reached in the number of sick workers the most likely scenario
is - - -

If and when we start to see multiple victims of Avian flu, or suspected Avian flu in people working in the poultry business, those workers
will quite quickly be isolated and treated! The Birds at those facilities will be slaughtered by the government and mostly this Event will
be accepted by " The Press " -their most important angle on the story will be the one that sells papers !

For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL
 
Matthew Alger
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I think fear is the wrong word for it personally. Am I concerned with the potential? Absolutely as should be any reasonable person in my opinion.

As I would love to hold complete confidence in my abilities to raise perfect, healthy chickens, the fact remains that they will be semi free range and therefore exposed to insects and birds that may carry disease. I live right in a migratory path as well so it's important to pay attention.
The cases started in China not too long ago, spread to India, then Africa, Canada and recently there was a case in Oregon of a "backyard" flock of chickens testing positive for the avian flu, it's spread far quite fast so it serves the homesteader to be aware and informed.

I use a great tool for gathering worldwide information quickly and easily, after all how can one claim to be informed without all the information?
http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/index2.php

Unfortunately H5n8 has reached California not too far from my town, and considering how restaurants and freight companies are not within my control I have made the informed decision to stay away from fowl for a while, as well as being critical about keeping my future flock as safe as possible (On that subject any effective natural antibiotics for chicks? Will echanchia benefit their immune systems perhaps?)

That being considered I say manifest the most positivity you can, but it's careless to disregard these concerns.
WorldWatch.JPG
[Thumbnail for WorldWatch.JPG]
RSOE EDIS World Monitor
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Miguel Laroche wrote:Current breeding practice are also to blame, it is my belief that large hatcheries (where most people get their chicks from...) are breeding and creating a breed of stupid lame slow chickens that are only good at laying eggs daily or getting fat fast. We are losing a lot of the gene pool and I believe they also breed the heritage birds poorly so that people stop asking for them. They want people to raise the dumb chicken and they want people to eat GMO corn. When you get heritage bird from a reputable local small farm, you usually endup with chickens that are professional foragers.


When I finally get a flock of chickens I hope that it will be carefully selected so that in addition to bringing chicken genetics to my farm that I will also import chicken culture... As far as I can tell by watching gamebirds, chicks that are hatched by a machine are missing out on a whole set of social and cultural training that healthy birds would have picked up from a broody hen. I wonder if that culture can ever be recovered if any generation in the history of a flock was ever machine hatched? Who even keeps those kinds of records? What farmer could assure me that "None of the ancestors of these birds were incubated by a machine!"

 
Landon Sunrich
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I'm not too particularly worried about flu's. Not to downplay them. They can be really nasty especially if you are young or old. But I think it's a great thing china and russia are banning US meat imports. That meat is not coming from Adam Klaus. Pretty sure about that. It seems like big animal agribusiness would present a natural breeding ground and danger for that sort of thing while a diverse permaculture system would be more resilient and less susceptible to viral vectors.
 
elle sagenev
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I have ever so many wild birds living on our property. There have been times where walking into the barn was like walking into an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Put out an arm and you are going to hit a bird. Last year almost all of my peachicks died. Never before had I had a disease. Peas are pretty susceptible to things and I worry greatly about this years chicks. I am going to have to take them from their parents and brood them I think.
 
Rose Lee
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I'm going to revive this thread as there has been recent outbreaks and quarantines in B.C., Washington, and California. It took me awhile, but I found this article that opposes what most USDA/news sources will tell you - that Avian Influenza is a result of factory farming. Backyard poultry is the answer, not the problem!

http://www.grain.org/article/entries/22-fowl-play-the-poultry-industry-s-central-role-in-the-bird-flu-crisis

It makes me so angry that owners of small flocks in the PNW are being blamed and told to confine their birds. The outbreak clearly started in Canadian facilities that housed tens of thousands of birds.
 
Erin Lemky
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Thank you, Rose Lee, that was an excellent read.
 
Kim Schmidt
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I have had some conversations about the current avian influenza outbreak with other veterinarians, particularly poultry and avian veterinarians.

I agree with the majority of this thread in one respect: it's inappropriate for some of the USDA and poultry scientists to often discuss "backyard" flock biosecurity as a bigger problem than commercial poultry. Yes, our foraging flocks are potentially exposed to more natural pathogens. However, that's completely different then the infection rate or the fatality rate.

All that being said, this 2015 (H5N2 Asian) strain of avian influenza is nothing to sneeze at (pun perhaps intended). The fatality rate is apparently close to 100% in some types of poultry. Compare that with a typical human influenza outbreak, where the case fatality rate is less than 1%. In the infamous Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, the case fatality rate is thought to have been less than 2.5%. (note that "case fatality rate" is not the same as "mortality rate" of a population. The point here is that if your birds get exposed to a highly pathogenic virus, it may make little difference how healthy they were when they became infected)


I have started a blog on this several times, and every time I "almost" publish it, I get new information and more questions to answer.

As far as the idea of thinking you might be able to be left with more flu-resistant poultry if your flock survives an infection.... well maybe. If some survive, though, that is no guarantee they are more prepared for another strain or that they aren't left in poor condition from the event.

I will come back when I publish the blog, hopefully in a day or 2. What I hope to highlight is:
-there are ways to modify/improve the biosecurity of a foraging flock that will at least reduce your chances of infection while not necessarily completely confining them
-I think you need to call if you have symptoms of the virus. I'm no more of a fan of USDA (in general) than most of you are. But they do have the resources and tools to track and attempt to control the outbreak. I'm trying to verify if they are requiring slaughter of all infected flocks. If they are slaughtering, there is probably replacement funding available. Again, don't assume that your personal flock can survive this just because they aren't as stressed as a confinement flock, or that you would be left with a healthy flock afterwards. We also need to consider that influenza viruses are very easily spread on fomites AND the more birds have this virus, the greater the chance that the virus infects a mammalian species. Even though I can't personally take part in the fieldwork with the USDA (and don't want to), I may see if I have time to take the online training and gather more information.
-I'm looking for more specific data on mortality in different species. If they are slaughtering the infected flocks, then we have no way of knowing. There is of course a presumption that migrating ducks are carriers. I have yet to see if any domestic ducks are infected and if they are symptomatic.

(edited to clarify reference to H5N2 highly-pathogenic strain. Mistyped as H5N1 originally)

 
Becky Steiger
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I live in Minnesota and though no one close by raises chickens,ect..It still worries me as every day it seems new out breaks are happening. So far it has been large turkey production farms, but the speed that it is spreading and the unanswered questions as to why it's spreading so fast..it does worry me.
 
Isaac Bickford
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I think it's important to be wise about disease. Meaning avoid the pathogens wherever possible. And start with a healthy system. If those two conditions are met, there may still be losses to disease. Which can be a good thing for permaculture.

It causes people to lose faith in commercial factory farming. Each one of these outbreaks tips a few more people into the pool of those who are willing to pay the true price of food up front.

Sometimes I wonder whether destroying all members of a flock is the right way to go, especially with backyard flocks. Maybe we should be breeding the survivors.
 
John Weiland
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@B. Steiger: "So far it has been large turkey production farms...."

Add to that a chicken egg production farm in Clay County, MN: http://www.kare11.com/story/news/local/2015/04/23/avian-flu-hits-chicken-farm-1st-time-in-minnesota-outbreaks/26252045/

It's good just to keep one's eyes peeled around their area and document as much as possible for future reference. I agree that there are a LOT of unanswered questions about the distribution and high rate of initiation of the epidemic across separate locations.
 
Lee Daniels
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http://bigstory.ap.org/article/dff01399d2cb4b5eae95f5ea32e7bed0/bird-flu-losses-likely-top-20m-new-cases-iowa



Bird flu losses likely to top 20M with new cases in Iowa.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) β€” Agriculture officials say five more farms likely have been affected by the deadly H5N2 bird flu virus, including an egg-laying operation with 5.5 million chickens.

Thursday's announcement means Midwest losses will top 20 million turkeys and chickens.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says more than 15 million of Iowa's 60 million egg-laying chickens are now affected with the news of it spreading to another farm in Buena Vista County.

Thursday's numbers include two turkey farms in the same county with an unknown number of birds, an egg-laying farm in Sioux County with 84,000 chickens and an unknown number of chickens on a Clay County egg farm.

Minnesota also reported three new presumed cases, adding another 35,000 turkeys to the state's total of almost 4 million birds killed or euthanized.
 
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