People all over the country are raising backyard poultry these days. Some raise birds to have a steady supply of fresh eggs, some as part of their commitment to eating locally, some to sell eggs to their friends and neighbors at the local farmers market.
For the past six years, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Biosecurity For Birds campaign has been reaching out to new—as well as seasoned—backyard poultry owners to provide tips and advice on how to prevent diseases, like different strains of avian influenza, from reaching their birds. APHIS is the arm of USDA responsible for protecting U.S. agriculture from pests and diseases that can harm livestock and crops.
On November 5, as part of the Agency’s first Bird Health Awareness Week, APHIS is sponsoring a free webinar, “The Word on Healthy Birds,” hosted by Andy Schneider, the Atlanta radio personality known as the Chicken Whisperer and USDA Poultry Veterinarian Dr. Martin Smeltzer.
“The webinar will cover what you need to know about raising healthy backyard poultry,” said Dr. Smeltzer. Topics include the biggest threats to keeping your birds healthy, how to keep your flock safe from predators and disease, the signs of infectious diseases, and resources available to help.”
The webinar is free, but space is limited, so reserve your webinar space now.
Schneider has been spreading the word about the benefits of raising backyard poultry through his radio show Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer. He also hosts workshops and has started an Atlanta poultry MeetUp group to share information and support backyard poultry enthusiasts. Schneider has made several public service announcements for APHIS. “Keeping birds healthy isn’t hard,” he said. “But it’s important, and that’s why I’m glad to help spread the USDA’s message.”
APHIS knows it is more important than ever to help poultry owners, especially new ones, understand the importance of protecting their birds from disease. Through our poultry health programs and cooperative efforts with growers and State veterinary partners, we have a vested interest in keeping backyard poultry safe from disease, whether someone has a couple of chickens for their own use, or a couple of hundred chickens they’re raising to sell for meat and/or eggs.