(Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu – Resources for Backyard Flocks
HPAI is a deadly disease for poultry. It can infect poultry such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl and wild birds, including waterfowl, raptors, and corvids. HPAI is extremely infectious and can spread easily and rapidly from bird to bird and flock to flock. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this strain of HPAI is not known to present a public health concern.
All those involved in poultry production to take extra steps to prevent their flocks from becoming infected. All poultry producers, from small backyard hobby producers to large commercial operations, should take precautions to protect their birds and review their biosecurity plans. Biosecurity refers to everything you can do to keep diseases – and the viruses, bacteria, funguses, parasites, and other microorganisms that cause disease – away from birds, property, and people. Some best practices are listed below; find more at: Tips on Protecting Your Birds.
Best practices include:
Birds affected with HPAI may show one or more of the following clinical signs: sudden death without clinical signs; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks; purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs; nasal discharge; coughing, sneezing; lack of coordination; and diarrhea. The Highly Pathogenic strain can spread and kill an entire flock within days, backyard flocks included. Many, if not all, of the birds in a flock will be affected.
To report sick birds, unexplained high number of deaths, or sudden drop in egg production, please contact AGM’s Division of Animal Industry at (518) 457-3502 or the USDA at (866) 536-7593.
Unusual illness and deaths of wild birds can be reported to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, (631) 444-0310.
Avian Influenza FAQs
USDA Defend the Flock!
Signs of Illness
Resource Center (English, Spanish,
Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalong)
Defend the Flock FaceBook:
Defend the Flock YouTube:
Defend the Flock Twitter:
Backyard Poultry, information from the CDC on keeping your birds and yourself healthy
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County – Suffolk County
Do you have questions on how to protect your backyard flock? Contact Kate Perz, the Suffolk County Farm’s 4-H Animal Science Educator at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 631-852-4603.
4-H Animal Science Educator
Last updated April 6, 2023