Poultry, Waterfowl Exhibitions Halted in Michigan to Protect Domestic Flocks

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has stopped poultry and waterfowl exhibitions in Michigan until the state goes 30 days without a new detection of the bird flu.

The order includes shows, exhibitions, swap meets, petting zoos at fairs and game bird/waterfowl fair displays, but does not include or affect egg hatching exhibits, pigeon races or zoos.

“By exercising this necessary precaution, we can wait for the warmer, drier weather needed to kill the virus without creating conditions that could worsen the problem,” said Dr. Nora Wineland, MDARD’s state veterinarian. “By taking this step now, it is hoped that poultry exhibitors can still participate in fair activities once circumstances have improved.”

The bird flu is highly contagious and can be spread in different ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected birds, by equipment and on clothing or shoes of caretakers. However, according to the CDC, the risk of people catching the bird flu is low.

So far this year, Michigan has responded to 12 cases of the bird flu in non-commercial backyard flocks from nine counties across the Upper and Lower Peninsula.

MDARD will continue to monitor the situation, and work with the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, Michigan State University Extension, 4-H programs and other partners to notify exhibitors when activities can begin again, and how to conduct them safely.

The following are ways that are essential to protect Michigan’s domestic birds, according to MDARD:

  • Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling birds as well as when moving between different coops.
  • Disinfecting boots and other gear when moving between coops.
  • Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting equipment and other supplies between uses. If it cannot be disinfected, discard it.
  • Using well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
  • Keep poultry feed secure to ensure there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.