File photo, William Moreland/UnSplash

WALWORTH COUNTY — With the recent outbreak of avian flu in Jefferson County, urban chicken owners in Walworth County communities that allow them may wonder about the safety of their own flocks.

The Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection recently released guidelines for poultry owners to keep their birds safe.

At this time, the only confirmed positive cases in Wisconsin are from the affected farm in Jefferson County.

Currently, a permit is only needed to bring new birds into the area surrounding the affected Jefferson County farm.

How can I protect my poultry?

DATCP continues to encourage everyone in Wisconsin working with or around poultry to practice
enhanced biosecurity measures to protect their flocks, including:

  • Sanitizing equipment and clothing used around your flock.
  • Protecting your flock from contact with wild birds.
  • Restricting access to your property and keeping your birds away from other birds.

For more information on biosecurity, see the biosecurity section of the DATCP’s HPAI in
Wisconsin page.

What are the clinical signs of HPAI?

  • Sudden death, possibly without clinical signs
  • Decrease in egg production or soft-shelled/misshapen eggs
  • Nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stumbling, falling down
  • Diarrhea

What should I do if I observe HPAI symptoms in my poultry?
To report increased mortality or signs of illness among domestic birds, contact DATCP at (608)
224-4872 (business hours) or (800) 943-0003 (after hours and weekends)

HPAI also has been detected in the wild bird population and birds can carry the disease to new areas
when migrating, potentially exposing domestic poultry to the virus.

Additional avian influenza detections may occur as wild birds continue to migrate north.

APHIS is conducting wild bird surveillance, which serves as an early warning system for the introduction and distribution of avian influenza.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has also implemented enhanced wild bird surveillance in Wisconsin. To date, no wild birds in Wisconsin have tested positive.


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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak launched Walworth County Community News in 2021. He is the former editor of The Week and Walworth County Sunday.