The province has tightened controls on poultry in the face of a growing number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
With fall bird migrations in full wing, the province’s chief veterinary officer reintroduced an order on October 14 indefinitely prohibiting the comingling of flocks.
The order applies to all poultry, fowl, guinea fowl, peafowl, pheasants, pigeons, quail and ratites. Small, non-commercial, non-poultry flocks, which have accounted for the greatest proportion of recent cases, are targeted.
“The BC Poultry Association (BCPA) has introduced the highest biosecurity ‘code Red’ standards in recognition of the current level of risk,” the order states. “As individuals who maintain small flocks of birds are not covered by the BCPA and not regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, additional measures need to be taken to protect these birds from virus transmission as well.”
During outbreaks this spring, small-lot producers were urged to follow the biosecurity protocols set forth by the Small-Scale Meat Producers Association.
This fall, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food has been holding a series of 11 public information sessions for small-flock poultry owners to help them prevent, recognize and report the virus. The sessions began September 27 in Williams Lake and continue November 1 in Chilliwack.
Since September 12, nine properties have reported infections. Two commercial operations in Chilliwack and Langley have been hit as well as four small-lot growers and three non-commercial, non-poultry flocks.
This brings to 27 the number of BC flocks affected, and a total of 230,000 birds.