By M. Scott Morris
TUPELO – Avian influenza is a nationwide problem, and a series of meetings has been scheduled to help Mississippi backyard poultry growers deal with it.
Representatives from the Mississippi Board of Animal Health and Mississippi State University will travel the state to discuss ways to keep flocks safe from the disease.
It’s a difficult situation for growers, especially since the illness can affect all kinds of birds.
“Wild birds can give it to your birds,” said Belvia Giachelli, a Tupelo-based agent with the MSU Extension Office. “It affects the birds. They cough, they sneeze. It decreases their feed and water intake.”
The Tupelo meeting will be 6:30 p.m., on Nov. 17 at the MSU Extension Office at 5338 Cliff Gookin Blvd. To register, call (662) 841-9000.
Other meetings include:
• Today, Mississippi State University, Starkville.
• Thursday, Neshoba County Coliseum, Philadelphia.
• Nov. 12, Covington County Extension Office, Collins.
All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avian flu isn’t just a problem for growers. Giachelli said outbreaks could affect egg and poultry prices in grocery stores.
“The egg production just basically doesn’t happen, and when it does, the eggs are misshapen,” she said.
Chickens and turkeys are susceptible, as are hawks and other wild birds. The illness is spread by feces and respiratory secretions.
A grower could go into town, step on infected feces, then transmit it from his shoes to his flock
“You can go to msucares.com and search for ‘avian flu,’” Giachelli said. “You’ll see brochures and a lot of information about this disease.”