Protecting Backyard Flocks from Avian Influenza

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery July 09, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

USDA recommends that owners of backyard flocks follow these tips to prevent avian influenza and other poultry diseases:


Backyard flock of domestic chickens
Pnoeric. (Photographer). (2008).
  • Keep your distance. Restrict access to your property and your birds.
  • Keep it clean. Clean and disinfect your clothes, shoes, equipment, and hands.
  • Don't haul disease home. If you have been near other birds or bird owners, clean and disinfect your poultry cages and equipment before going home.
  • Don't share diseases with your neighbors. Do not borrow lawn and garden equipment, tools, or poultry supplies from other bird owners.
  • Know the warning signs of avian influenza.
  • Sudden increase in bird deaths
  • Sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge
  • Watery or green diarrhea
  • Lack of energy
  • Drop in egg production
  • Swelling around the eyes, neck, and head
  • Purple discoloration of wattles, combs, and legs
  • Report sick birds. Call your local or state veterinarian or call USDA toll-free at 1-866-536-7593.

What to learn more about protecting your birds?  Test your knowledge of disease prevention in eXtension's free course, Avian Influenza Biosecurity for Backyard Flock Owners.  Help teach your kids about keep their birds healthy at Avian Influenza Biosecurity for Youth and 4-H Members.  

Avian Influenza Homepage

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.