Avian flu outbreak detected at Alexander family farm, forcing business to ‘vacate’, quarantine | Wild River Outpost

Avian flu outbreak detected at Alexander family farm, forcing business to ‘vacate’, quarantine | Wild River Outpost

Jessica Sezner Andrews / Today @ 11:24 am

Avian flu outbreak detected at Alexander family farm, forcing business ‘deserted,’ into quarantine

An avian flu outbreak has forced the Alexander family farm to “culling” its entire flock and starting from scratch, Blake Alexander said Friday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the infectious disease in a flock of 43,000 birds from an “independent table egg producer” in Del Norte County. H5N1 Bird Flu Detection Map Report

Alexander confirmed Friday that the flock belonged to his family. The outbreak was detected about a week ago, he said, and they have finished culling their birds following government protocol. The Alexander family farm was unable to sell eggs for a while — Alexander didn’t know for long. But, he said, they will get new birds and come back.

“It’s kind of hard to deny that it’s going to be us, so yeah, it’s going to be us,” Alexandre said. Wild River Outpost. “This is a very difficult time on the farm and we have to get through it calmly.”

In addition to the cases in Del Norte County, new avian flu outbreaks have been detected in Stanislaus County and Monterey County, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. As of October 4, outbreaks were confirmed in domestic herds in Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Sacramento and Tuolumne.

According to the CDFA, infected sites are quarantined and birds are euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

In Oregon, according to the CDC, avian flu has been detected in Coos, Douglas, Lane, Deschutes, Linn and Tillamook counties.

Del Norte County Agriculture Commissioner Justin Riggs said the state veterinarian’s office notified him of the local outbreak, but he didn’t know it was on the Alexander family farm. Riggs said his department staff would participate in an inspection if CDFA or the state veterinarian’s office asked to do so, but he had not received “communication about any of that.”

“Our role in animal health issues is usually small on a day-to-day basis,” Riggs said. “I received a CDFA alert from the State Veterinarian’s Office that Del Norte had avian flu. But usually if they want us to do something, I’ll get a phone call from CDFA.”

Alexander called the recent avian flu outbreak “an epidemic,” saying it was his family’s worst year. He said he is working with state and federal veterinarians to try to figure out how long his farm needs to be quarantined and when they can begin replacing their birds.

Alexander said he still hasn’t gotten that information in part because these companies are “so riddled with problems all over the place that they’re really stretched thin.”

“I think it’s been our worst year and I think what should be said is that it’s been carried by the wildlife,” he said, adding that the wild flock of geese visiting his pasture had just left. “We are very vulnerable to this because our birds are spread across 300 acres of pasture.”

According to the CDFA, avian flu has been detected in wild birds in 22 California counties, including Siskiyou.

Although Del Norte is not included in the 22-county CDFA list of infested wild birds, backyard flock owners should be vigilant about sanitation, especially if they frequent wild birds or visit other domestic flocks, Riggs said.

In addition to chickens, those who raise ducks, turkeys and other birds also need this precaution, he said.

“If it were me, I wouldn’t wear my shoes or boots in an area where my flock is going to be that I’m off the property,” Riggs said. “What you’re aiming for is to keep your flock as separate as possible from everything else. If you have flocks, you don’t want to encourage wild birds to come onto your property. You definitely don’t feed them, and if you have fruit left on the tree, cut it off. Think about dropping.”

Avian flu is highly contagious and often fatal to birds and is spread through direct or indirect contact with infected birds, according to the CDFA. Symptoms include shortness of breath; clear flowing discharge from nose, mouth and eyes; Lethargy reduces food and water intake; Swelling around the eyes, head, blanket or comb; Discolored or bruised comb, wattles or legs; tripping and falling; Twisting the neck or sudden death.

Riggs urges people to visit CDFA website And read about animal health and biosecurity. They can also stay up to date on avian flu outbreaks in California, he said.

CDFA urges poultry owners whose birds have experienced sudden illness or death to call its Sick Bird Hotline at (866) 922-2473.

Alexander Kids started Alexander Kids, their pasture-raised organic commercial egg business, about 18 years ago. Their products have been featured in stores statewide, most recently in Southern California.

Alexandre said the avian flu outbreak on his family’s farm was a blow, but he and his son are working to bounce back.

“I feel very fortunate that we have a path back to manufacturing,” he said.

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