County Holds Bird Flu Info Session for Okanagan Small Poultry Owners – Vernon Morning Star

After nearly 100 birds on Spallumcheen’s O’Keefe Ranch had to be killed in an outbreak of bird flu, the BC government will hold an information session for small poultry owners.

The outbreak was declared on Sept. 18 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which noted that the birds were not poultry, meaning the birds were used for reasons other than the production of animal products.

This outbreak follows one of several post-avian flu (H5N1), a federally regulated disease, that has begun to spread worldwide, with the first report in BC in the Northern Okanagan on April 13.

Now the county is bringing in government veterinary specialists to talk to small poultry farmers in Kelowna about the bird flu virus, how to protect flocks and how to prepare for potential impacts if birds get sick.

Participants learn about:

•improving the biosecurity of flocks or farms to prevent disease outbreaks;

•recognizing the signs of bird flu and how to report cases;

• how the regulations for foreign animal diseases affect poultry in small herds;

•what to expect if a flock is positive for avian influenza; and

• resources available to non-commercial bird owners, including diagnostic services through the BC Animal Health Centre.

The session will be held at Reid Hall on Thursday, September 29 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. Participants will receive a complimentary biosafety kit with tools and information to help maintain good biosafety practices.

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