Bird flu in Utah: why bird owners are alert and the symptoms you should look for

Apr 21, 2022, 7:27 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:44 pm

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Right now, people in Utah County need to keep a close eye on their flocks.

These words of caution come as the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food confirms a case of bird flu in northern Utah County.

Right now, 29 states including Utah are reporting bird flu cases.

As a result, many chicken owners, including Elk Ridge resident Nelson Abbott, are concerned, asking how to best protect their poultry.

For over 35 years, Abbott has raised several birds. Right now, he has several chickens, pigeons and parakeets.

“I just do it for a hobby, because I like birds,” said Abbott.

Now, Abbott is keeping an eagle eye on the bird flu, which landed in a small backyard flock in Utah County.

Utah State Veterinarian Dean Taylor said as a chicken owner, the best thing you can do right now is keep your chickens inside.

“Instead of having them free range right now, bring them in the coops,” Taylor said.

While birds of a feather may flock together, not right now is the best move.

“Don’t go visit other poultry, other friends with poultry. Don’t go near their chickens. If you have poultry, I wouldn’t go down to the parks where they have wild ducks,” said Taylor.

Rest assured: As the name suggests, bird flu mainly impacts birds. That means most likely your dogs, cats and other household pets are going to be OK.

“The strain that is infecting us right now has never been associated with people, so we think the risk is very low there, and even lower that household pets are gonna get sick,” said Taylor.

Still, sticking to the safe side if you’re in an area where there are a lot of birds is a good idea.

“I would probably leave those shoes in the garage and clean them,” said Taylor.

The state veterinarian said when it comes to finding eggs on your grocery store run, if the bird flu spreads, it could become harder if bird flu made its way into an egg laying house.

That’s because those products would be off the shelves for weeks to months.

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Bird flu in Utah: why bird owners are alert and the symptoms you should look for