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Migration report: September is the month that birds migrating south begin appearing in North Carolina.

Blue-winged teal ducks are the first species to head south for the winter. They spend their summers as far north as Canada and can be found as far south as South America in the winter. Many of them stop in North Carolina on their voyage. Southern migration of all birds lasts through January, then birds start heading north again, keeping migratory patterns active through April, according the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The highly pathogenic avian influenza has not been found in the Atlantic flyway this year, but scientists say that migratory birds could introduce the virus along the East Coast this fall. There has not been a new case in the U.S. since June, but poultry owners should stay vigilant.

The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus can be carried by migratory birds and introduced to domestic poultry, such as backyard chickens. Many types of waterfowl are not affected by HPAI and do not show signs of being sick. Backyard birds should be contained so that they do not come into direct contact with waterfowl or their droppings.

USDA recently published a new handout: Prevent Avian Influenza at Your Farm: Improve Your Biosecurity with Simple Wildlife Management Practices

Download and add this graphic to your website.

USDA-APHIS Backyard Poultry Owners
Cleaning and Disinfecting Checklist

Cleaning and disinfecting coops and enclosures are important to help keep your birds’ environment healthy. While the process takes some time, your birds are worth the effort.
Use this handy checklist as a guide.

  • Move your birds to a separate area so you can do a thorough cleaning.
  • Remove all old litter, manure, and other debris.
  • “Dry” clean all areas—brush, scrape, and shovel off manure, feathers, and other materials. Disinfectant will not work on top of manure and caked-on dirt.
  • “Wet” clean all surfaces—scrub with water and detergent. Work from top to bottom and back to front.
  • Rinse all surfaces carefully with water.
  • Apply a disinfectant according to the directions on the label. Be sure to use a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectant that is effective against avian influenza virus or other diseases of concern.
  • Leave the enclosure empty until it is completely dry. Using fans and/or opening doors and windows will help speed the drying process.
  • Clean and disinfect your boots, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when you are done. Wash the clothes you were wearing.

Remember, you are the best protection your birds have.

Visit our website

Our website has a ton of information for small-flock owners. Visit for biosecurity information, links to USDA information, hunting information, frequently asked questions and more!

Info for commercial growers

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is requiring any commercial poultry grower with 200 or more birds to submit a HPAI outbreak plan by Sept. 15. A commercial grower would be any grower under contract with an integrated company.

Growers will still need to submit the response plan template with their farm information and biosecurity protocols, as this will vary by premises, even though there may be a company policy on biosecurity. On the depopulation and disposal portions, the grower can state something to the effect of “Will follow the guidelines set forth by the company’s master plan.” The exception is if burial is the preferred method. Each premise will have to be preapproved for burial.

Help spread the word!

Please share this newsletter with anyone who works with poultry or their suppliers. Download a poster for your place of business. Or share the website with a fellow enthusiast.

Follow NCAgriculture:

Informational posters:

NCDA&CS biosecurity poster for feed stores & bird shows (PDF)

USDA-APHIS Biosecurity guide for poultry and bird owners (PDF)

USDA-APHIS 6 ways to prevent poultry diseases (PDF English & Spanish)


Rumor Mill: Chicken sales

Chicken sales are NOT banned due to the threat of avian influenza. The ban applies only to auctions, swap meets and other events that bring birds together and then disperse them to multiple premises.

Will I be able to sell birds to my neighbor?
Yes, individual sales are still allowed. We remind bird owners to practice good biosecurity and to quarantine any new birds away from your existing flock for 2-4 weeks. We are only stopping sales where people and birds are commingled.

Will I be able to ship birds?
Most likely. Check with the State Veterinarian's office in the state you are shipping birds to ensure there are no restrictions. If you are having birds shipped to you, we require either certification of NPIP AI Clean status for a flock or a negative antigen test for avian influenza within 21 days of entry.

Can I still sell eggs at the farmers market?
Yes and no. You can sell eggs for consumption (sanitized eating eggs) but not hatching eggs.

Can I still process and sell chicken and turkeys?
Yes, as long as you are in compliance with all existing rules and regulations pertaining to processing meat and poultry.

Can we still have ducks or geese for sale at auction this fall?
No. All live bird auctions will be halted this fall.


We've had almost 2,000 small/backyard flocks owners register with the State Veterinarians' office since Aug. 1.

This will faciliate getting information to all flock owners in case HPAI is introduced to North Carolina.

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Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Agriculture

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