MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - In response to the recent detection of highly pathologic avian influenza H5N1 on several county farms, the county’s agriculture services has instructed administration to set up a workshop to inform producers and residents.
The move came by way of motion at the April 25 ASB meeting, held in person and on Zoom.
“I think this would be a great time to put on a lengthy workshop for the backyard flocks,” said board member and county councillor Gord Krebs, who is also a veterinarian. “I think these workshops need to go a little bit further than just biosecurity about the avian flu.
“One thing we need to do when putting on this workshop is Alberta Poultry should be involved in it because migrating birds is one thing everybody needs to look out for, but there is also nesting birds, exotic birds that bring in things like Newcastle disease which we really don’t want in Canada at all.
“There is an awful lot that may not be covered in depth as seriously as it could be for these flocks. Now would really be the time to get together with some of the neighbouring municipalities and put on something lengthy and really hard-hitting.”
Newcastle disease is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds.
Highly pathologic avian influenza H5N1 has been detected on four farms in Mountain View County.
According to a World Organisation for Animal Health report made public, the first cases detected in the province were on a commercial chicken broiler farm in the county. Out of 80,809 birds, 822 cases were found; all died. The remaining 79,987 were killed and disposed of.
The report said cases were then detected at another commercial chick broiler farm in the county. Out of 53,142 birds, 420 cases were detected; all died. The remaining 52,722 birds were killed and disposed of.
Cases were then detected at a commercial hunt farm with pheasants and partridges in Mountain View County. Out of 662 birds, 200 cases were detected; all died. The remaining 462 birds were killed and disposed of.
The county's fourth location where the disease was detected was in a backyard mixed non-commercial poultry flock. Out of 40 birds, 15 cases were detected; all died. The remaining 25 birds were killed and disposed of.
Urban municipalities in the district should be encouraged to take part in the workshop due to the fact that several towns now allow backyard chickens, said Krebs.
“Olds and Didsbury both have a large amount of backyard chickens,” he said.
The workshop will focus on a broad range of disease and biosecurity for backyard flock owners.
A date for the workshop will be announced when more details worked out, members heard.
The county will be putting additional information on its website regarding avian flu and the need for biosecurity, said Jane Fulton, assistant director of agricultural services.
- With files from Lea Smaldon