AUGUSTA, Maine — Animal health officials in Maine warn bird owners to protect their flock against the "highly pathogenic" avian flu virus (HPAI).
The reminder came on Friday after the deadly virus was detected in a group of backyard birds in Washington County, according to an email by Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) spokesperson Jim Britt.
Britt said backyard and commercial bird owners should keep their flock indoors to prevent the spread of the bird flu.
Per the email, HPAI is highly contagious and can spread from flock to flock in many ways.
This includes contact with wild birds, infected poultry or equipment, and the clothing and shoes of the bird caretakers.
DACF has reported 14 cases of avian flu in backyard flocks since February of this year.
DACF has provided the following measures to keep your domestic birds safe:
• Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed.
• Practice strict biosecurity measures, including washing hands before and after handling birds and when moving between different coops, wearing clean clothes, and keeping vehicles clean and free of dirt, manure, and other organic material.
• Disinfect boots and other gear when moving between coops.
• Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
• Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies between uses.
• Use well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
• Keep poultry feed secure to ensure no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.
• Avoid visiting other farms, homes, or facilities with birds.
• Know the signs of HPAI and monitor the health of birds regularly.
To learn more about the avian bird flu in Maine, click here: HPAI in Maine.