CDA’s emergency rule temporarily suspends all Colorado poultry events

CDA’s emergency rule temporarily suspends all Colorado poultry events

The following information was distributed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture on March 31, 2022. 

After the US Department of Agriculture confirmed detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in Sedgwick County last week, Colorado’s state veterinarian advised issuing an emergency rule suspending all poultry shows, including meets, sales, swaps, and competitions. The state’s Agricultural Commission approved this emergency rule on March 30. The rule takes effect immediately and will last for 90 days, unless renewed or ended at an earlier date by vote of the Agricultural Commission and a recommendation of the state veterinarian.

At this time, there have been no detections of HPAI in commercial or backyard poultry flocks in Colorado, but avian influenza is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that can be transferred from wild bird populations to domestic poultry.

“Commingling of birds presents a high risk of disease introduction and transmission and the Department of Agriculture is temporarily suspending all poultry events in our state to help minimize the possibility of highly pathogenic avian influenza affecting backyard and commercial poultry,” said Colorado State Veterinarian Maggie Baldwin, DVM. “Colorado poultry owners should immediately increase their biosecurity protocols to protect their flocks, including limiting exposure of domestic birds to wild birds and other poultry flocks and limiting introduction of new birds into flocks.”

The State Veterinarian’s Office will hold an informational webinar on Wednesday, April 6, from 5-7 p.m. to provide more information about highly pathogenic avian influenza and what flock owners should do to protect their birds. Anyone can register for this free webinar and attendees can submit their questions in advance through this form.

On March 17, 2022, Colorado Parks and Wildlife recovered several sick and dead Snow and Ross’s geese at Jumbo Reservoir in Sedgwick County. The birds were necropsied at the CPW Wildlife Health Laboratory and samples were submitted to the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The samples tested positive for HPAI and these results were confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory on March 24. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in wild birds in Colorado this year.

In 2022, avian influenza has been detected in wild bird species across 29 states. Additionally, there have been detections in backyard and commercial premises impacting more than 15 million poultry and birds (detections as of March 29). The USDA tracks all HPAI cases on their website.

The emergency rule has been approved by the nine member Agricultural Commission and signed by Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg.

Bird owners seeking more resources, like biosecurity plans, signage, and webinars, can visit the Defend the Flock website from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or visit

What bird owners can do:

INCREASE BIOSECURITY: Poultry owners must immediately increase biosecurity measures to protect their birds from HPAI. The USDA Defend the Flock website has helpful resources for keeping poultry healthy in any operation. Commercial poultry producers can use this toolkit to assess their biosecurity practices and preparedness.

MONITOR: Monitor your flock for clinical signs of HPAI, including monitoring production parameters (feed and water consumption, egg production) and increased illness and death.  Any changes in production parameters that could indicate HPAI should be reported.

REPORT: Veterinarians and producers must report any suspicious disease events in poultry flocks to the State Veterinarian’s office at 303-869-9130. If it is after hours, the voicemail message will indicate which veterinarian is on call.

If you have sick birds or birds that have died from unknown causes, help is available at the Colorado Avian Health Call Line at CSU, 970-297-4008.

Wild birds: If you find three or more dead wild birds in a specific area within a two week period OR if you see live birds showing clinical signs of disease, please contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.

Additional information and resources: