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Celebrate Bird Health Awareness Week

Did you know Feb. 24 through March 2 is Bird Health Awareness Week? USDA’s Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) invites you to celebrate by joining poultry experts on a webinar called, “Growing Chicks Into Healthy Chickens: Getting Ready for Spring,” to be held on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m.  This webinar is hosted by the Chicken Whisperer, an Extension veterinarian and an APHIS veterinarian. Registration is required and details are here.

The Chicken Whisperer raises backyard birds in rural Georgia.  He started years ago with a few hens and ducks, and this year is starting a new flock of 40 birds at his new home. Andy Schneider (the Chicken Whisperer’s real name), has helped countless bird lovers with their own flocks, has a radio show about backyard bird care, and runs the Atlanta Backyard Poultry MeetUp group which has over 1,600 members.

Kiel’s birds—Cornelius, Rajun Cajun and Milla—enjoy a tasty snack fresh from the garden.

Kiel’s birds—Cornelius, Rajun Cajun and Mella—enjoy a tasty snack fresh from the garden.

Backyard birds are finding homes in other parts of the country too.  For a year and half, Alyn Kiel, a USDA employee, started every morning admiring her Rhode Island Red/Barred Rock hens.  She would check for eggs, gather up any fresh ones and make sure her birds were healthy and happy.  Then she would wish her three birds good-bye for the day, step out of her door into downtown Baltimore and live an urban life.

“There’s nothing not to like about backyard birds!” croons Andy. “The eggs are always fresh and tasty, but there are many other benefits to backyard chickens like composting, fertilizer, insect control, education for kids, and entertainment for the family.”

Raising backyard birds is becoming increasingly popular across the country and, as the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass describes, are part of the growing momentum and interest in local meat and poultry.

That’s why we invite you to celebrate Bird Health Awareness Week by joining the “Growing Chicks into Healthy Chickens” webinar on February 28,  learning more about how to keep your birds safe and healthy with tips from APHIS’ Biosecurity for Birds campaign, following @Healthy_Harry on Twitter for regular bird tips, and entering the “Cutest Chick” photo contest for a chance for your bird to be in the limited edition Biosecurity for Bird’s 2014 Calendar (contest opens March 1).

Cornelius and Rajun Cajun, two of Kiel’s birds, explore outside their coop.

Cornelius and Rajun Cajun, two of Kiel’s birds, explore outside their coop.

2 Responses to “Celebrate Bird Health Awareness Week”

  1. Linda Childers says:

    Where can I get a copy of the 2014 calendar? I’ve been getting them for a few years and really enjoy them. This year I never saw where to request one or even download it.

  2. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    @Linda: We are doing one, but for various reasons the printing is delayed. We expect it in mid-February this year. They will be available by using the online ordering system. Though the calendar is delayed this year, always fresh are the guidance it contains on keeping birds healthy and information on recognizing symptoms of illness in your birds. Look for the 2014 calendar here: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/aphis_pubs.php

    Thank you!

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