CSU webinar alerts poultry producers to HPAI and spotlights niche poultry businesses
The Poultry Pathways webinar hosted by the Colorado State University Extension opened with Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza (HPAI). Heather Reider, avian health coordinator for the CSU Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory, said it’s a serious concern for Colorado’s $21 million poultry industry.
Reider said the Avian Health Program manages statewide avian influenza surveillance, the National Poultry Improvement Plan, and the facility serves as the state’s diagnostic laboratory. The program is also responsible for statewide education and outreach, including testing at shows at county fairs and the Colorado State Fair. She said NPIP began in the 1930s after the poultry industry was brought to its knees by pullorosis, caused by salmonella pullorum. The program was later expanded to include testing and monitoring for other poultry diseases. The program currently offers testing and surveillance for Salmonella pullorum (causal agent of pullorosis), Salmonella gallinarum (causal agent of fowl typhoid), Mycoplasma gallisepticum, Mycoplasma synoviae, Mycoplasma meleagridis (for turkeys) and avian influenza. Reider said the diagnostic lab tested about 8,000 birds for bird flu in 2022. That number may seem low, she said, but bird flu is a flock disease rather than an individual disease. Therefore, 8,000 herds or premises were tested.
In neighboring Nebraska, the Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service have confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in a wild goose near Holmes Lake in Lincoln. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in the state since 2015.
“Although Nebraska has not seen HPAI in a backyard or commercial poultry flock in the state this year, the discovery of this single goose adds Nebraska to a long list of states with cases. confirmed HPAI,” said state veterinarian Dr. Roger Dudley. “Infected wild birds can transmit the disease to new areas as they migrate, so we encourage backyard poultry and commercial poultry flocks to continue to remain vigilant, practice good biosecurity and report birds immediately. sick or dying.”
Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: decreased water intake; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled and deformed eggs; runny nose, cough, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause birds to die suddenly even if they show no other symptoms. HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.
The poultry industry in Colorado is comprised primarily of egg layers, as it has been stated that broilers perform poorly at high elevations. With about 5.1 million laying hens, the state produces about 1.5 billion eggs per year.
Reider said Colorado is home to a large number of backyard poultry flocks as well as niche operations, free-range broiler breeders, show poultry, specialty birds and game birds. feathered.
One of the poultry farmers on the webinar panel was Brandon Legg of Legg’s Landing and Legg’s Peafowl in Kansas City, Mo. Legg specializes in breeding peacocks and, through genetics, breeds new colors and patterns of peacocks. In 1980 he said there were five colors of peacocks and today there are over 20 colors and 200 varieties, many of which originated on Legg’s farm.
Kristin Ramey owns Long Shadow Farm in Burgdorf, Colorado and raises a number of types of livestock including chickens, turkeys, ducks and quail for meat and eggs. Ramey’s 12-year-old daughter also shows poultry in the 4-H program. Meat poultry raised on the farm are all processed on site and sold directly to consumers.
Amelia Macy is a 4-H member from Larimer County, Colorado and is the author of the Poultry Resource Handbook for 4-H Youth in Colorado, the official handbook for 4-H members enrolled in poultry projects. She breeds and shows poultry, specializing in Plymouth Rock white dwarfs and Rosecomb black dwarfs. Macy also owns a small dove release business called Angel Releases and she breeds, breeds and trains white homing pigeons for use in her business and for sale.
Tom Whiting completed the panel. His poultry operation, Whiting Farms, is based in Delta, Colorado on the West Slope. He breeds lines of roosters for their feathers which are sold for use in fly fishing. He also raises poultry for commercial purposes and offers chicks for local collection.
Whiting credits her education at land-grant universities, including CSU, as well as the network of other breeders involved in poultry plumage genetics, as important to her success. To succeed in a career in poultry genetics, he recommends an undergraduate degree in poultry science and an internship at a poultry genetics company.
When he started, he said he bought the equipment from an old mink ranch and was able to use the individual quarters for his roosters to protect them – and their long feathers – from fighting. He has now built environmentally controlled facilities with lighting and ventilation controls.
Ramey said she was inspired by books including Joel Salatin’s Pastured Poultry Profits when she started her farm’s poultry operations, going so far as to learn how to slaughter chickens based on the book’s descriptions which were accompanied by some black and white images. Pictures. They upgraded to high tech equipment with a scalding and picking system which they continue to use.
Doing her own processing has been a boon during COVID, and her ability to offer locally produced chicken to consumers has served her well. Although rising input costs are affecting her retail prices, she said it’s important to understand her customer base. Understanding pricing levels and embracing their places in niche markets, panelists said, are key to succeeding with a small business within a big industry.
The Poultry Pathway webinar series is available at https://rangemanagement.extension.colostate.edu/poultry_production/.
Tom Whiting – Fly tying feather business, ridden chickens, others
Whiting Farms (Delta, Colorado)
Phone: (970) 874-0999