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Watch the Bird Health Basics Video to learn more about protecting your flocks from Avian Influenza and other infectious diseases.

How to Prevent and Detect Disease in Backyard Flocks and Pet Birds - HTML5 Transcript/Captions

Are we, um, rolling? Alright then.

Ah-hm. Hello and welcome to my short presentation on keeping backyard flocks and pet birds safe from infectious diseases.

Of course, I have what you might call a vested interest in this topic (chuckles). But I'm sure you too want to keep your birds, your family and yourself safe and healthy.

Knowing what to do to keep your birds free from dangerous illnesses such as Avian Influenza and Exotic Newcastle Disease isn't rocket science. In fact, there are just five basic points you need to remember...

First, limit exposure to visitors.
Second: keep new or returning birds separate from the others.
Third: keep wild birds and other animals away.
Fourth: know the signs of illness and take action.
And last, but certainly not least, keep things clean!

Now let's take a look at each of the five points in a little more detail.

It's important to remember that people – as nice as you are (chuckles) – um, people can spread bird diseases.

My advice is to keep visitors away from your birds.

But, if someone must enter your property or handle your birds, make sure they're aware that they're entering an area that you're trying to keep free from infection.

Visitors' hands and clothing should be clean, especially their shoes or boots.

You can give them shoe or boot covers to prevent disease from entering, or leaving, your property.

So, to sum up, you're best to keep visitors away from your birds. But people who come in contact should be reminded that they may be carrying an infection, and that you're doing what you can to keep your birds free from disease.

Birds can pass disease from one to another.

Keep new birds, or birds that are returning from shows or exhibits separate from the rest of the flock. And keep them apart until you're sure they're healthy. That usually takes anywhere from two weeks to a month, depending on the circumstances.

It's best to buy your birds from a reputable supplier who cares as much about disease control as you do.

It's important to prevent birds from infecting one another, so make sure a bird is healthy before you introduce it to the others.

Wild birds and animals can be a significant source of infection. You've got to keep them away from your birds!

Wild birds, as well as other wild animals and birds can carry disease-causing viruses, parasites and bacteria.

Make sure that wild animals are kept away from your birds and their feed and water.

Feed and water areas should be covered to discourage wild birds.

And it's good practice to clean up any spilled feed and litter, and keep feed in sealed containers to avoid attracting, well, unwanted guests.

Keeping our wild friends away from your birds will ensure they won't pass on any disease they may be carrying.

You need to know how to recognize a sick bird, and what to do if you suspect illness.

First, you need to know what symptoms to look for. Here are a few common ones:
You may see a lack of energy, movement or appetite; or decreased egg production.
There may be swelling around the head, neck and eyes; or nervous signs such as tremors or lack of coordination;
Other symptoms can include coughing, gasping for air, sneezing, diarrhea...
or the sudden death of a seemingly healthy bird.

It helps if you're familiar with your bird's or flock's normal behaviour. That way, unusual behaviour will be more obvious.

If you think you have a sick bird, call your vet.

It is always better to be overcautious.

Early detection can limit the effect of disease on your birds, and possibly your neighbours' as well.

Dangerous viruses, parasites and bacteria can live in organic matter such as litter and soil, (with emphasis) so keep things clean!

To start, routinely and thoroughly clean the cages and area where you keep your birds, as well as egg trays, tools, and water and feed containers.

Have a clean-up routine for people, clothing, footwear and equipment before and after handling birds.

Basically, it's best to have a clean-up routine for anything coming into contact with your birds.

And supply your birds with clean, water and safe, healthy feed.

Keeping the environment around your birds clean is one of the most important things you can do to prevent disease.

So, now you know how to prevent and detect disease in your backyard flock or pet birds.

Do you remember the five basic points?

Limit exposure to visitors.
Separate new or returning birds.
Prevent contact with other birds and animals.
Know the signs of illness and take action if they appear.
And, Keep it Clean!

That about wraps up my presentation. I hope you found it helpful. If you'd like more information, you can visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's web site, or give them a call.

Thanks for watching.

I think that went well, how do you feel? Oh good. Well I had a bit of the jitters at first (chuckles). Could you tell?...

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