Language selection


Video - Bird Health Basics

Watch the Bird Health Basics Video to learn more about protecting your flocks from Avian Influenza and other infectious diseases.

How to Prevent and Detect Disease in Backyard Flocks and Pet Birds - Transcript

Text: Bird Health Basics. How to Prevent and Detect Disease in Backyard Flocks and Pet Birds

The narrator appears on screen. It is an animated rooster. He is sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of his coop.

Are we, um, rolling? Alright then.

Ah-hm. Hello and welcome to my short presentation on keeping backyard flocks and pet birds safe from infectious diseases.

Of course, I have what you might call a vested interest in this topic (chuckles). But I'm sure you too want to keep your birds, your family and yourself safe and healthy.

Knowing what to do to keep your birds free from dangerous illnesses such as Avian Influenza and Exotic Newcastle Disease isn't rocket science. In fact, there are just five basic points you need to remember...

The scene changes to a chalk board.  A piece of chalk writes out the following five points:

First, limit exposure to visitors.
Second: keep new or returning birds separate from the others.
Third: keep wild birds and other animals away.
Fourth: know the signs of illness and take action.
And last, but certainly not least, keep things clean!

The narrator/rooster leaves the porch and stands in front of a framed picture hanging on a wall. The picture shows a person standing in front of a chicken coop. Under the picture there is a sign that says, "Limit Exposure to Visitors."

Now let's take a look at each of the five points in a little more detail.

It's important to remember that people – as nice as you are (chuckles) – um, people can spread bird diseases.

My advice is to keep visitors away from your birds.

The picture becomes animated.  A child approaches the chicken coop. An adult stops the child from entering the coop.

The scene changes to show a peacock in a cage with a sign on the outside that says, "Please help keep my bird from getting sick!"

But, if someone must enter your property or handle your birds, make sure they're aware that they're entering an area that you're trying to keep free from infection.

An adult and a child wash their hands together in a sink with soap and water.

Visitors' hands and clothing should be clean, especially their shoes or boots.

A pair boots are shown.  Boot covers are added to the boots.

You can give them shoe or boot covers to prevent disease from entering, or leaving, your property.

The scene with the covered boots turns into a framed picture on a wall. The narrator/rooster is standing next to the picture. There is a sign under the picture that says, "Limit Exposure to Visitors."

So, to sum up, you're best to keep visitors away from your birds. But people who come in contact should be reminded that they may be carrying an infection, and that you're doing what you can to keep your birds free from disease.

The narrator/rooster walks towards another picture of a single bird in a separated fenced area. There is a sign under the picture that says, "Separate New or Returning Birds". A blue prize ribbon is placed on the bird’s cage.

Birds can pass disease from one to another.

Keep new birds, or birds that are returning from shows or exhibits separate from the rest of the flock. And keep them apart until you're sure they're healthy. That usually takes anywhere from two weeks to a month, depending on the circumstances.

It's best to buy your birds from a reputable supplier who cares as much about disease control as you do.

A pick-up truck backs into the feed store parking lot and then drives away with a load of chicks and chickens in the back.

It's important to prevent birds from infecting one another, so make sure a bird is healthy before you introduce it to the others.

The pick-up truck drives towards the farm. The narrator/rooster walks across the screen. The scene changes to a the exterior of a chicken coop.

Wild birds and animals can be a significant source of infection. You've got to keep them away from your birds!

A goose flies across the sky.

A goose lands outside the chicken coop.

Wild birds, as well as other wild animals and birds can carry disease-causing viruses, parasites and bacteria.

One goose drinks water from a bucket and another eats the chicken’s feed.  The chickens are in a fenced area separate from the geese

Make sure that wild animals are kept away from your birds and their feed and water.

Feed and water areas should be covered to discourage wild birds.

Chickens are eating in a covered area from feeders.

And it's good practice to clean up any spilled feed and litter, and keep feed in sealed containers to avoid attracting, well, unwanted guests.

The scene zooms out to show two sealed feed containers.

The scene turns into a framed picture on a wall with the narrator/rooster standing next to it. A sign under the picture says "Prevent Contact With Other Birds and Animals".

Keeping our wild friends away from your birds will ensure they won't pass on any disease they may be carrying.

The narrator/rooster walks to another framed picture of a chicken coop with two birds inside. The sign underneath the picture says,  "Spot and Report Any Signs of Disease"

You need to know how to recognize a sick bird, and what to do if you suspect illness.

The picture becomes animated, zooming in on a chicken showing symptoms of illness. The chicken falls to the ground.

First, you need to know what symptoms to look for. Here are a few common ones:
You may see a lack of energy, movement or appetite; or decreased egg production.
There may be swelling around the head, neck and eyes; or nervous signs such as tremors or lack of coordination;
Other symptoms can include coughing, gasping for air, sneezing, diarrhea...
or the sudden death of a seemingly healthy bird.

Another chicken coop is shown with several birds eating feed from the ground.

It helps if you're familiar with your bird's or flock's normal behaviour. That way, unusual behaviour will be more obvious.

The narrator/rooster walks to the centre of the screen.

If you think you have a sick bird, call your vet.

It is always better to be overcautious.

Early detection can limit the effect of disease on your birds, and possibly your neighbours' as well.

The narrator/rooster jumps into a new picture. It shows a messy chicken coop with overturned cages, buckets and egg trays, and broken eggs on an unclean ground.

Dangerous viruses, parasites and bacteria can live in organic matter such as litter and soil, (with emphasis) so keep things clean!

A big brush scrubs over the messy scene and it is replaced with a scene showing the cages, egg trays, and buckets upright and organized in a clean area.

To start, routinely and thoroughly clean the cages and area where you keep your birds, as well as egg trays, tools, and water and feed containers.

An adult and a child wash their hands together in a sink with soap and water.

Have a clean-up routine for people, clothing, footwear and equipment before and after handling birds.

A pick-up truck drives towards a farm.

Basically, it's best to have a clean-up routine for anything coming into contact with your birds.

Inside a chicken coop with chickens drinking and eating.

And supply your birds with clean, water and safe, healthy feed.

The scene zooms out and turns back into a framed picture on the wall. The narrator/rooster is standing next to the picture.

Keeping the environment around your birds clean is one of the most important things you can do to prevent disease.

So, now you know how to prevent and detect disease in your backyard flock or pet birds.

Do you remember the five basic points?

The narrator/rooster walks by the five framed pictures hanging on the wall. The pictures are labelled as follows:

Limit exposure to visitors.
Separate new or returning birds.
Prevent contact with other birds and animals.
Know the signs of illness and take action if they appear.
And, Keep it Clean!

The narrator/rooster sits in a rocking chair. Coordinates of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are shown on a chalk board:; 1-800-442-2342.

That about wraps up my presentation. I hope you found it helpful. If you'd like more information, you can visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's web site, or give them a call.

Thanks for watching.

I think that went well, how do you feel? Oh good. Well I had a bit of the jitters at first (chuckles). Could you tell?...

Date modified: