A presumptive-positive test for avian influenza has now been found in a small backyard poultry flock in Allen County near the Fort Wayne area.
According to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, nearly all the flock had died, which prompted the owner to report the deaths to the Healthy Birds Hotline.
This is the second backyard poultry flock in Indiana where the virus has been found. A small hobby flock in Bargersville in Johnson County was discovered to have positive tests for the virus on April 25. That flock of chickens, ducks and peafowl has since been depopulated.
Avian flu had also previously been found on six commercial turkey farms in southern Indiana and three commercial duck farms in northern Indiana. That led to the depopulation of more than 171,000 turkeys and 17,000 ducks.
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health recommends if you have a hobby flock of your own, to watch for signs of illness. Those signs may include lack of energy or appetite, decreased egg production, soft-shelled or misshapen eggs. Quickly, the birds can also get a swelling or purple discoloration around their head and eyelids, as well as nasal discharge, coughing and sneezing.
It is also strongly recommended to keep your poultry flock separated away from outside birds, namely migratory waterfowl like ducks and geese.
No cases of human illness have been reported for the strains of HPAI that are currently circulating in the United States.
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health also stresses that this is not a food safety threat. Eggs and poultry meat are safe to eat.
If you see any signs of illness in your flock, to call the USDA Healthy Birds Hotline at 866‐536‐7593. You will be routed to a federal or state veterinarian in Indiana for case assessment. Dead birds should be double‐bagged and refrigerated for possible testing.