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Commercial Flocks Continue To Deal With Avian Flu Outbreak

Commercial Flocks Continue To Deal With Avian Flu Outbreak

By CLAYTON BAUMGARTH

An outbreak of avian flu continues to be an issue for turkey and duck farmers.

This highly pathogenic bird flu first broke out in commercial poultry flocks in February. Since then, its effected six turkey farms in Dubois and Greene counties, three duck farms in northern Indiana and several backyard flocks.

President of the Indiana State Poultry Association Becky Joniskan says about 500,000 birds have been affected in Indiana. “We produce over 20 million turkeys a year,” she said. “So when you look at the numbers, it doesn't look significant. But when it is your farm, it is the world.”

Farmers that lost their flock to the disease can receive help through the State Board of Animal Health and the USDA via an indemnity fund that pays out a percentage of the value of their birds.

Read More: Hunters: Be aware of aviana influenza

Flock owners are encouraged to be extra cautious to not bring the disease to their birds. Washing hands often, wearing disposable plastic covers on boots and keeping a strong line of separation all help in keeping flocks safe.

Joniskan says this strain of avian flu has been particularly hard to deal with. “With no geographic specificity, it just seems to be everywhere. And it has affected really every type of poultry production,” she said. “It's also affected breeder flocks, as well, for ducks and chickens, and turkeys just in other parts of the country. So it doesn't seem to be discriminating at all.”

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