BALTIMORE, Md. — If you keep chickens in your backyard, you might be worried about the highly infectious avian flu that's spreading in the US.
OSHA has a list published of the symptoms that you should look out for:
- Sudden death
- Lack of energy, appetite and coordination
- Purple discoloration and/or swelling of various body parts
- Nasal discharge
- Reduced egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs.
The USDA has some pictures of what these symptoms could look like in your chickens, click here for that page.
If you've already collected the eggs from an infected bird, the Maryland state veterinarian says if they're properly cooked they pose a low risk, however, out of an abundance of caution, the Maryland Department of Agriculture recommends that you don't eat them.
The MDA also warns not to remove eggs from the property if avian flu is suspected or confirmed, so as not to spread the disease further.
The Department has a list of instructions specifically for people who keep poultry in a backyard coop, if you suspect an outbreak.
If you suspect an outbreak in your backyard, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call the USDA's toll free number 1-866-536-7593.
For more information about avian flu and how to protect yourself and you flock, you can visit the USDA's Defend the Flock website.