Avian influenza: precautionary measures stepped up in autumn

The Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) reminds us that avian influenza (bird flu) prevention measures must be stepped up in the fall for small bird farms (including urban hens).

Autumn is now upon us. In the context of avian influenza prevention, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ) reminds you that standard biosecurity precautions must be heightened during the seasonal migration period.

The MAPAQ recommends that you pay particular attention to the procedures for entering and leaving farm buildings. For more information, visit the Équipe québécoise de contrôle des maladies avicoles website (in French only).

Avoid links between farms: staff or owners of a poultry farm should avoid visiting other facilities where birds are kept.

In addition, vigilance is required to avoid attracting wild birds (especially scavengers), animals and insects, as their proximity to livestock buildings can contribute to the spread of the disease.

To achieve this, we recommend rigorous mortality management:

  • If carcasses need to be stored temporarily before disposal, place them in a refrigerated room or hermetically sealed freezer away from the rearing area, food and water sources. Access to this area must be controlled.
  • If carcasses are placed in a recovery bin for rendering, the bin must be able to close completely. To do so, it must be in good condition and not be filled beyond its capacity.
  • Do not leave stacked carcasses outdoors: collect them immediately or freeze them for later storage.
  • If carcasses need to be moved, they must be placed in a watertight bin, and the vehicle used to move them must be cleaned and disinfected at the end of the operation.
  • At the time of collection, the recovery bin must be placed at the side of the road to prevent the rendering truck from entering the farm, and must be able to be handled without the intervention of the driver or employees (e.g. without the need to remove the chain to empty the bin into the truck).

In addition, it is advisable to:

  • Store feed properly and clean up feed spills promptly.
  • Store manure as far away from livestock buildings as possible.

We recommend keeping your breeding birds inside a building. If your birds need access to an outdoor pen, a net over the pen should prevent wild birds from entering. Wetlands and bodies of water encourage gatherings of wild birds; if your birds must have access to a body of water, it’s essential to install a net to prevent wild birds from landing there.

In the event of unusual deaths or signs of the disease, consult a veterinarian.

If you are unable to contact a veterinarian :

450 768-6763 to reach the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s hotline for reporting sick birds
1 844 ANIMAUX to contact MAPAQ’s reporting centre.

All poultry owners have a responsibility to protect their birds and the health of the Quebec flock.

Visit Québec.ca/Avian influenza and subscribe to the newsletter (Petits élevages, in French only) to receive information on animal diseases, regulatory requirements and breeding and biosecurity tips.

Please share this information with those concerned!