Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office issues updated guidance document for poultry events

Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office issues updated guidance document for poultry events

The following information was distributed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture on June 24, 2022. 

On June 22, 2022, the Colorado Agricultural Commission met to discuss an Emergency Rule on poultry shows that is set to expire on June 30, 2022. The Commission approved the recommendation of the Commissioner of Agriculture and State Veterinarian to let the current rule expire without promulgating a follow-up emergency rule. On March 30, 2022, the Commissioner of Agriculture adopted the rule, which suspends all poultry shows, including meets, sales, swaps, and competitions, as a result of increased detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Colorado and across the United States. Although this emergency rule will expire, Colorado flocks remain at risk for HPAI introduction and transmission.

“While this rule will expire, the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office recommends that all poultry shows, sales, swaps and commingling events continue to be postponed or canceled at this time,” said Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. “HPAI has affected more than 40 million domestic birds nationwide, and more than 3.5 million chickens in Colorado alone, and we are asking all Colorado bird owners to practice good biosecurity measures, including limiting exposure of domestic flocks to wild birds and other poultry flocks and limiting introduction of new birds into their flocks.”

The State Veterinarian’s office has issued HPAI Guidance for Poultry Shows, Swaps, and Commingling Events. Under this direction, the decision to postpone or cancel poultry shows, sales, swaps and events remains in the hands of local event organizers, except in the case of quarantine, health order, or movement restriction — whether all-state or site-specific. CDA will continue to monitor case trends and assess the risk to Colorado flocks and update guidance accordingly.

If shows and events take place, the State Veterinarian’s office strongly recommends that event organizers implement extra precautionary measures to minimize the risk of transmission of HPAI. Precautionary measures may include:

  • testing birds for HPAI prior to event entry
  • requiring a health certificate within 72 hours of entry to the event
  • veterinary examination of all incoming poultry
  • on-site biosecurity measures to limit the spread of disease.

All poultry entering Colorado from out-of-state must still meet the poultry import requirements, including a certificate of veterinary inspection and verification that the poultry have not originated from a HPAI control area.

Additionally, bird owners should review their own biosecurity measures and make sure everyone who has contact with your flock follows biosecurity principles. Flock owners should keep visitors to their flocks to a minimum and any visitors should wear protective outer garments or disposable coveralls, boots, and headgear when handling birds, and shower and/or change clothes when leaving the facility.

Good biosecurity practices include washing hands with soap and water before and after coming in contact with live poultry, changing clothes before entering poultry areas and before exiting the property, and cleaning and disinfecting tools or equipment before moving them to a new poultry facility.

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: