BROOMFIELD, Colo. – On June 22, 2022, the Colorado Commission of Agriculture met to discuss an emergency rule on poultry shows set to expire on June 30, 2022. The commission approved the commissioner’s recommendation to Agriculture and State Veterinarian to let the current rule expire without enacting a follow-up emergency rule. On March 30, 2022, the Commissioner for Agriculture passed the rule, which suspends all poultry shows, including meets, sales, exchanges and competitions, due to increased detections of highly avian influenza. pathogen (HPAI) in Colorado and across the United States. Although this emergency rule will expire, herds in Colorado remain at risk of introduction and transmission of HPAI.
“While this rule expires, the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office recommends that all poultry shows, sales, exchanges and mixing events continue to be postponed or canceled for the time being,” said the Colorado state veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. “HPAI has affected more than 40 million domestic birds nationwide and more than 3.5 million chickens in Colorado alone, and we ask all Colorado bird owners to implement good biosecurity measures, including limiting the exposure of domestic flocks to wild birds and other poultry and limiting the introduction of new birds into their flocks.
The state veterinarian’s office has issued HPAI guidelines for poultry shows, exchanges, and mixing events. Under this direction, the decision to postpone or cancel poultry shows, sales, exchanges and events remains in the hands of local event organizers, except in the case of quarantine, health order or restriction of movement – whether they are in all states or site specific. The CDA will continue to monitor case trends and assess the risk to Colorado herds and update guidance accordingly.
If shows and events are taking place, the state veterinarian’s office strongly recommends that event organizers implement additional precautionary measures to minimize the risk of HPAI transmission.
Precautionary measures may include
test birds for HPAI prior to event entry
require a health certificate within 72 hours of entering the event
veterinary examination of all incoming poultry
on-site biosecurity measures to limit the spread of disease.
All poultry entering Colorado from out of state must still meet poultry import requirements, including a veterinary inspection certificate and verification that the poultry is not from a control area of the HPAI.
Additionally, bird owners should review their own biosecurity measures and ensure that everyone in contact with your flock follows biosecurity principles. Flock owners should keep the number of visitors to their flocks to a minimum and any visitors should wear protective clothing or disposable coveralls, boots and headgear when handling birds, and shower and/or change clothing when leaving the facility.
Good biosecurity practices include washing hands with soap and water before and after contact with live poultry, changing clothes before entering poultry areas and before leaving the property, and cleaning and disinfect tools or equipment before moving them to a new poultry facility.
What Bird Owners Can Do
INCREASE BIOSECURITY: Poultry owners should immediately strengthen biosecurity measures to protect their birds from HPAI. The USDA Defend the Flock website has helpful resources for keeping poultry healthy in any operation. Commercial poultry producers can use this toolkit to assess their biosecurity practices and readiness.
MONITOR: Monitor your flock for clinical signs of HPAI, including monitoring production parameters (feed and water consumption, egg production) and increased disease and death. Any changes in production parameters that may indicate HPAI should be reported.
REPORT: Veterinarians and producers should report any suspicious disease events in poultry flocks to the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130. If it’s late, the voicemail will indicate which vet is on call.
If you have sick birds or dead birds of unknown causes, help is available at the Colorado Avian Health Hotline at CSU, (970) 297-4008.
Wild Birds: If you find three or more dead wild birds in a specific area within a two-week period OR if you see live birds with clinical signs of illness, please contact your local Parks and Wildlife office from Colorado.