Backyard poultry owners will find colorful chickens and turkeys, as well as ducks, parrots and some grand geese among a 12-month spread of domestic, wild and exotic birds in the 2011 Backyard Biosecurity calendar. They’ll also find a year’s worth of solid information to help them raise healthy birds and keep them free from disease.
The calendars are widely distributed throughout the country by USDA, particularly through extension service. “In Arkansas, we distribute the calendars at many poultry activities,” said Dr. Fred Dustan Clark, director of Agricultural Cooperative Extension Service in the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas. “We use them at our pullet chain (when chicks are delivered to 4H students) all over the state, when we do seminars for 4H, at Farm Days and we put them in feed stores,” Clark added.
Many of the birds gracing the pages of this year’s calendar were selected from winning photos submitted to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) “Favorite Bird” photo contest. They were chosen from nearly 400 entries from 46 states, the District of Columbia and the United Kingdom. Winning entries are shown throughout the calendar and on the back cover.
In addition to vivid photos and text in English and Spanish, the Biosecurity For Birds mascot, Healthy Harry, doles out advice throughout the calendar. He demonstrates simple steps bird owners can take to help keep their birds disease free, telling poultry owners to look, report and protect their flocks, noting early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease. He advises owners to keep themselves, their clothes and equipment clean and restrict access to their property and birds. The calendar has information on spotting the signs of a sick bird and photos of birds with avian influenza or AI, a disease that can strike poultry quickly.
Raising backyard poultry is a growing trend across America as many individuals and families seek a more direct connection to their food. And as the number of backyard chickens increases, so does the need for owners to learn about keeping their flock healthy.
More information on protecting and caring for backyard poultry as well as an online order form to order the calendar and other information can be found on at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.