Avian influenza has been found in Sydney and backyard poultry keepers can help prevent the spread.

Avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, has been detected in the Hawkesbury region, at two large poultry farms near Freemans Reach in June 2024. Evans Chickens are not in the exclusion zone, as we are located over 13 kilometres from the affected area. We are still open to purchase chickens, feed & supplies. As a precaution, we have confined all of our free-range stock to pens with adequate space and protection, where they can still dig, scratch, and dust bathe.

As backyard poultry keepers, you too can help to limit the spread and reduce the risk to your own flock. We suggest that you do not allow your flock to free-range until the bird flu threat subsides. Limiting your poultry’s exposure to wild birds is paramount and we suggest covering your pens with bird netting. Keeping water for your flock clean is also very important; we suggest chlorinating rainwater tanks if this is what your chickens are consuming.

People with backyard flocks should ensure their footwear is kept clean and wear specific footwear when visiting their chickens. For instance, we have separate on-farm and off-farm footwear to prevent walking in diseases. Always wash your hands before and after handling poultry or eggs. Additionally, quarantine new birds before integrating them into your flock.

The emergency control order can be found here and is in effect until December 19th 2024 and restricts poultry movement and sales in the above area. Small poultry flocks should be less likely to be exposed to bird flu but wild birds do pose a significant risk. Risk factor does increase with higher numbers of chickens. Further information can be found on Department of Primary Industries website or contact your local vet.

Preventing the further spread of avian influenza is crucial, and the public plays a vital role in this effort. Individuals are encouraged to report any signs of illness in their backyard poultry or wild birds to the relevant authorities. Maintaining good hygiene practices, such as thoroughly cooking poultry and eggs and avoiding contact with sick or dead birds, can help mitigate the risk of transmission to humans.

The recent detection of avian influenza in several Australian states has prompted a swift response from the government and public health authorities. Strict biosecurity measures have been implemented to limit the spread of the virus, including the culling of infected flocks, movement restrictions, and enhanced surveillance. Poultry producers are working closely with officials to ensure their operations adhere to the necessary protocols to safeguard their birds and the broader industry.

If you see unusual signs of disease or suspect an exotic disease in your poultry, immediately call your veterinarian, an LLS District Vet or the Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Hotline 1800 675 888.