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Poultry Commingling Update

Please be advised of a recent order issued by the Chief Veterinarian on March 1st, 2023, regarding Avian Influenza (AI) in British Columbia. This order replaces the General Order from September 2022.

This order is currently in place for “commingling events”, including poultry swaps, auctions, flea markets, bird shows, fairs, public displays, and competitions where birds from multiple sources would be present. Within this order, persons responsible for birds, located in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver Regional Districts, are prohibited from commingling events. The order does allow poultry comingling in other areas of BC if the following conditions are met:

For 10 days preceding the Commingling Event:

a. the Birds are maintained in a closed flock;

b. clean, dedicated boots, gloves and over-clothing must be donned and doffed at the entrance to the closed flock housing area by all persons who enter and exit the closed area;

c. equipment movement into the closed flock housing area must be minimized, and any required equipment must be clean and dry before it is moved into the closed flock housing area;

d. wild birds are excluded from the flock area; and

e. the closed flock shows no signs of illness.

At the Commingling Event:

a. all Other Operators must not permit any person, other than persons who live or work on the premises of origin of the Birds, to handle and provide care to the Birds, with the exception of purchasers, who may handle any purchased Birds but only in order to remove them from the Commingling Event;

b. all Other Operators must maintain a distance of 2 metres between Birds from different premises, and between Birds and the public; and

c. all persons attending a Commingling Event must use boot wash and hand sanitizer before entering and before exiting the Commingling Event.

After reviewing the requirements above and considering the challenges that would be involved in implementing them in connection with a 4-H judging event or field day, the 4-H BC Provincial Council has determined for the time being it is best to continue with no live birds at in-person 4-H events in all parts of BC. There is no expiration date on this order, but we will keep you informed of its status. Should the order remain in place through the spring, it will be brought forward for discussion at the Poultry Leader Roundtable on May 25th. This will provide an opportunity for poultry leaders to discuss best practices for poultry clubs, and options for project achievement in the summer months. Registration for this roundtable can be found here.

To view the full order, click here. For more information about the state of Avian Influenza in BC, please visit the Ministry of Agriculture and Foods’ webpage: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-health/reportable-notifiable-diseases/avian-influenza-ai

Please continue to implement safe biosecurity practices to ensure your farm and flock are protected from the disease. The following recommendations are still in place for 4-H members, leaders and other guests that own or work with poultry and are attending in-person meetings, activities, and events:

 

  • Familiarize yourself with other sources of risk (i.e., other 4-H members, leaders, or guests with poultry at home) and limit your exposure to other bird owners.
  • Ensure you are wearing clean clothes and shoes to the meeting, activity, or event. Clean your shoes before you go back to a home premises.

 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has the following resources available for backyard and small flock producers regarding health and safety:

Please share this information with your members, their families, and encourage everyone in protecting their birds through biosecurity best practices.