The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) launched a new outreach program geared towards helping youth and student poultry owners learn about and practice safe biosecurity measures. The new effort is called #FlockDefender.
The future of our nation’s poultry industry lies on the shoulders of our youth. The #FlockDefender outreach effort spreads the agency’s existing Defend the Flock message that encourages and prepares all poultry owners to utilize strong biosecurity practices with aspiring growers. APHIS provides youth, students, and their leaders and teachers with electronic resources they can use to conduct classes and meetings and take care of their flocks. APHIS also encourages young poultry owners to share photos of their poultry operations and their biosecurity practices.
Since small poultry flocks are increasing in number throughout the country, now is the time to cultivate strong biosecurity. Flock health thrives when solid biosecurity is in place from the start. Routine biosecurity practices help keep poultry healthy and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
However, these practices aren’t just for youth. All poultry growers should practice strong biosecurity measures at all times. Several European and Asian countries are currently dealing with extremely contagious avian influenza outbreaks. Good biosecurity will protect our nation’s flocks should we face similar issues in the future. Here are some general safety tips:
- Select new birds from flocks participating in the National Poultry Improvement Plan
- Quarantine new birds for at least 30 days before introducing them to an existing flock
- Create a Line of Separation between your flock and the rest of the world and establish rules for crossing that line.
APHIS updated the whole Defend the Flock website when #FlockDefender was Launched. You can explore the site, the campaign resources, and more detailed biosecurity information at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock.