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Frequently Asked Questions
Should I put away bird feeders and bird baths because of High Path Avian Influenza?
The NCDA & CS Veterinary Division has been working in collaboration with our partners at the NC Wildlife Resources Commission regarding wild birds in NC with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. The use of wild bird feeders has been an increasing public concern due to our current outbreak of HPAI in commercial poultry.
Surveillance of wild birds in NC confirmed the presence of HPAI in our state on January 16, 2022. Waterfowl often carry the disease without showing any signs of illness. Other types of birds, including commercial and backyard poultry, can have severe illness often leading to death. It is unclear how the virus impacts songbirds or the role songbirds might play in virus transmission. During this disease incident, there have been no cases of songbirds testing positive for HPAI and no reported deaths of wild birds at NC bird feeders.
Wild birds will gather where food and water isare available. If you own poultry, we do not recommend having bird feeders/baths. If you don’t own poultry, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission recommends you clean your bird seed feeders and bird baths a minimum of every two weeks with a dilute bleach solution (no more than 1-part bleach to 9-parts water) before rinsing and allowing it to air dry completely before refilling. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned similarly when the nectar is changed, at least twice per week. If you do find wild birds dead near a bird feeder, please report it to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s Wildlife Helpline at 1-866-318-2401 or HWI@ncwildlife.org.
My ducks and chickens, turkeys and guineas live together and all seem healthy. Do I need to separate them?
It is a good idea to keep all waterfowl separate from your chickens, guineas and turkeys. Waterfowl are known carriers of the influenza virus and may appear perfectly healthy, while being able to infect your flock.
IMy flock lives outside except when they enter their coop for the night. Should I keep them inside all the time?
Moving flocks inside will provide further protection because they have less chance of coming in contact with wild waterfowl. If you cannot keep them in housing, be sure to avoid anything that might attract other birds, such as feeding them in the open or spilled feed..
How could wild waterfowl give the disease to my flock?
Wild waterfowl typically shed the virus through their droppings. The virus lives well in cool, moist places, so access to ponds and streams can be dangerous for your flock. It is best to keep your flock confined so that they cannot access areas where waterfowl gather.