Keeping birds healthy
Urban and backyard flocks owners can reduce the spread of diseases like avian influenza, salmonella or e. coli by implementing a simple biosecurity plan.
- Biosecurity in your loft helps prevent disease in your loft.
- Isolate your flock from other birds. Always quarantine new or returning birds for 14 days.
Birds can die for many reasons, so some death loss is to be expected. However, if frequency or numbers are increasing, then you may want to have the birds tested at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to discover the source of the problem.
Avian influenza is harmful to poultry flocks especially if it’s highly pathogenic. Always report any signs of disease to your state agency or veterinarian. Preventing disease is the best way to keep your flock healthy.
- Download the fillable PDF to outline essential care of your birds if you or your family members experience illness, injury, or another emergency when you may need outside people to provide care.
- Contingency plans cover essential care only. They are not comprehensive care plans.
- Use the form to complete your Contingency Poultry Care Plan.
Raising poultry for meat or eggs
- What are popular backyard chicken breeds?
- How to best care for backyard chickens for egg production.
- There are a number of steps that can help reducing salmonella risk in egg production.
- Purchase chicks from hatcheries in the United States Sanitation Monitored program and pullets from sources with salmonella prevention and control programs.
- Selecting the right type of chick is key to efficient production.
- Learn about space needs, cleaning, brooders, feed and health.
- You can raise chickens for meat on a small scale, even in your backyard.
- Learn what chickens need and how to plan.
- Common concerns for backyard or urban poultry can include disease, noise, odor, pests and waste management.
- Washing your hands before and after handling birds can help prevent disease spread.
- You can raise game birds for show, meat production or for release.
- Unless you make a large initial investment, the market will be mostly local in nature.
- Special considerations are necessary to raise these wild birds in a commercial situation.
- Always wash your hands, equipment and work space after coming in contact with raw poultry.
- Top quality poultry carcasses come from healthy, well-finished and well-fleshed birds.
Public health and safety
- Keeping backyard poultry may contribute to overall human well-being.
- Backyard poultry also can expose people to disease.