Author Topic: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity  (Read 327 times)

Max Strawn

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A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« on: August 23, 2017, 12:55:46 PM »
I have always considered myself a conscious observer and enforcer of biosecurity practices on my property. About six weeks ago, I had a lapse in judgement and let my guard down. As a result, my birds have been infected with Laryngotracheitis (ILT) and the Texas Animal Health Commission will be depopulating most of my flock. Fortunately, they are willing to work with me to save my bloodlines and the hard work I have put into them. I will be quarantined and allowed to keep only a select few birds for breeding purposes. As soon as I have enough chicks, the remaining breeders will be depopulated.

To protect everyone and to prevent the possibility of spreading the virus, I will not be entering or even visiting any poultry shows this year. As much as I would like to see and visit with my poultry friends, I feel like this is the right thing to do.
 
If you have been fortunate enough to avoid a devastating disease outbreak within your flock, donít take it for granted and donít let your guard down. It only takes one person, one bird, one touch or one step in the wrong spot to spread disease. If you are unfamiliar with good biosecurity practices, I encourage you to research and learn all you can. One day, it may prevent you from losing your flock.

If you show or plan to show, vaccinate and follow good quarantine practices when you return home. It could save your flock as well.

After this, I donít know that I will ever let another poultry related person enter the yard. I suppose with proper precautions it would be ok, but at this point Iím not willing to risk it.

On a more encouraging note, I have the opportunity to start fresh and eliminate any other diseases that may be present including those that are carried through the egg such as MG. I donít know how long it will last but at least I know where I am starting from.

John W Blehm

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2017, 01:26:38 PM »
I went thru it a few decades ago after coming back from a show in Iowa, so I know what you are going thru.  My place was quarantined.  I incubated all the eggs I could and then depopulated and repopulated.  I vaccinated for years, but gave up on that and just try to breed for resistance and still allow others on the premises.  I don't claim that is what others should do, it is just what I do and feel "too much" biosecurity would take all the joy out of this hobby for me.

What will you be doing to the hatching egg and/or day-old chicks that will possibly eliminate MG and other diseases?

Max Strawn

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 01:50:16 PM »
https://books.google.com/books?id=PJ7XFY86HOQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Scroll to page 9. I plan to soak the eggs in a Tylan solution before incubation. I know it's not a permanent solution for anyone who shows, but it'll make me feel better knowing I gave the effort. I may change my thoughts on biosecurity once my emotions have calmed down, but for now just consider my place as Fort Knox...

John W Blehm

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 02:48:58 PM »
https://books.google.com/books?id=PJ7XFY86HOQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Scroll to page 9. I plan to soak the eggs in a Tylan solution before incubation. I know it's not a permanent solution for anyone who shows, but it'll make me feel better knowing I gave the effort. I may change my thoughts on biosecurity once my emotions have calmed down, but for now just consider my place as Fort Knox...

I figured that is what you had something like that in mind and have added Tylovetģ Soluble Powder (Tylosin tartarate) to the drinking water of chicks, for the first 5 days, this past hatching season.

INDICATIONS For treatment of Respiratory mycoplasmosis, Chronic Respiratory Disease, Borreliosis (Spirochetosis) in chickens; Infectious Synovitis and Sinusitis.
...
WITHDRAWAL PERIOD For meat Ė 5 days after the last administration of the preparation. For eggs Ė 5 days after the last administration of the preparation.

Beth Curran

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 12:10:29 AM »
Max, I am so sorry you're going through this. I know you must be devastated...
Beth Curran

Max Strawn

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2017, 07:44:08 AM »
The initial shock was pretty rough. To say I was a little ticked off would be an understatement. After doing some research, it's surprising how much difference there is from state to state regarding regulations and disease control. Some states don't even monitor ILT. Here in Texas, it is being pushed by the big poultry companies. If I lived closer to a commercial poultry farm, there would be a little compensation for my loss.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 10:07:17 AM by Max Strawn »

Beth Curran

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2017, 01:29:54 PM »
That's the situation here as well. The poultry industry is huge and NC doesn't have a lot of other industry. There are pockets - banking in Charlotte, the research triangle, tourism here and in the mountains, both largely seasonal, but ag is still king, primarily poultry & hogs. And I've said it before, the climate of fear and distrust they create is counterproductive. Eradicating these diseases is in everyone's best interest and it could be done if they were willing to work with everyone through testing & quarantine instead of defaulting to "kill them all and start over" because the commercial operations don't want to waste their time looking for long-term solutions.

I don't blame you for going "Fort Knox." I had a scare after Indiana two years ago, I was terrified I'd brought MG back. While I was too afraid to test, whatever it was a) did not respond at all to Tylan, b) cleared up with an aggressive round of tetracycline and c) after a year has not resurfaced, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't. But during that time nothing came in and nothing left.

Frankly, MG scares me even more than ILT because people tend to be cavalier about it - no one would knowingly sell or show a bird if they even suspected ILT in their flock but in my state the consequences for MG are every bit as serious. It really makes me nervous about showing, especially out of state...
Beth Curran

Russ Blair

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2017, 04:32:20 PM »
Wow I am truly sorry to hear this Max, I don't know what I would do in the same situation. It would be heartbreaking to see many years of dedication go down the drain. On a good note at least they are working with you so you can continue with your lines. I don't think I would ever inform any officials on fear they would eradicate the whole flock. Which never made since to me, I believe the birds showing resistance should be bred from not culled no matter what disease. I guess I should look into a little bio security, about the only precautions I take is quarantine all birds for two weeks when I come back from a show. Heck after breeding season I mix all my breeders in random flocks to make room for my grow outs. Stay the course and remember there is always next year  ;)

Oh I almost forgot, if you need any bantam hatching eggs in spring to help just let me know.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 04:41:46 PM by Russ Blair »
S.E. Michigan

Tailfeathers

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2017, 09:49:16 PM »
Well, I'll throw a quick two-cents in the pot.  I have a little bit different take.  Now keep my comments in the context that I love my hobby and I've put more time, effort, and money into it than I can possibly even imagined - or want to!  Especially the money part!!  And I truly believe the 10yrs I've been breeding and showing has produced measurable and qualitative improvement.  But when I boil it all down to its purest form it's still just a hobby.  They're still just a bunch of birds. 

The last couple of years everyone was all in a tizzy, some in a bona fide panic, over the Avian Flu.  All that was being talked about on every poultry site was Bird Flu and Biosecurity. 

Well, I'll probably take a bunch of flack for this but I never sweated it for a nanosecond.  I have two ponds on my place.  My upper coop is about 100yds from the southern bigger pond and my lower coop is about 30yrds from it.  I also have ducks and Pilgrim geese.  AND I feed about half the North American flock of mallards every Fall and Winter.  Seriously, during the Winter it's not unusual at all for me to flush a 100 or more mallards off the ponds when I make my rounds.  I also get other kinds of ducks.  So for me to exercise real Biosecurity I would have to completely revamp my whole way of having birds. 

Moreover, to do that I'd have to revamp my whole thinking on my I have birds.  One of the greatest joys I get is to just watch my birds out and about.  Roaming as they please and carrying on with their various antics.  I have been to places where all there birds where contained in either pet carriers lines up in a row and stacked on each other or closed up in pens and I can honestly say if I had to do that I'd give up the birds, stop breeding, and stop showing.

So I settled in my mind that if I got the Bird Flu and had to have all my birds put down I'd take that as a sign from the Lord that it was time to move on to another hobby.  Wouldn't break my heart if I got to go fishing and hunting again.  Besides that I've been saving up emails I get from Digital Photography School and might even be able to learn how to use my 7D that I bought a few years ago.

Now, mind ya, I do practice a modicum of reasonable precautionary measures.  I haven't brought a bird on my place in years.  When I have folks come over to buy birds I make sure they're not in their farm clothes and if they're wearing boots or such I have a mat that I pure chlorine on.  I don't vaccinate or medicate for anything except Amprolium for Cocci and Piperazine-17 for worms.  It's pretty rare that I even see a sick bird anymore and, on the rare occasion that I due, I wring it's neck and throw it over the fence for the coyotes.

Personally, I seriously doubt whether ILT, Mareks, or any other disease is gonna be totally eliminated.  Oh, it might be as I don't recall the last time I heard of anyone getting Polio but that hasn't stopped a new disease from popping up.  For us older folks, when did you ever hear of a baby being born with defects due to the Zika virus??  I'd pretty much bet the farm that if ILT were eradicated, and ceased to exist, something else would come along and take it's place.

So I can fret over it and make more work for myself over what might happen or I can just not worry about it at all and enjoy things one day at a time while I can.  Personally, I'm gonna do the latter.
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Jensen Pierson

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2017, 08:50:08 PM »
I am so sorry to hear this Max. Thank goodness you are able to keep your line going. I personally do not vaccinate any of my birds. Haven't for 4 years now. 6 years ago I had an outbreak of Chronic Respiratory Disease hit my flock. And it hit me hard. I didn't show for 2 years after that. A lot of my birds died, but the few who lived and got better I kept to breed from. After a few years of just raising and culling sick birds I am on year 2 of little to no symptomatic birds. I tend to take an old fashioned approach and just let nature take care of nature. Vaccinations themselves have only been around since the late 18th century. Chickens obviously didn't die of extinction from diseases before that, and they won't now. Putting yourself in a bubble won't eliminate the risk fully which is why I take an approach similar to Tailfeathers. I probably fall to the extream of that spectrum because I have all but removed every commercial medications and supplements from my poultry supplies. I have even found a cost effective source for Non GMO laying crumble feed. My personal opinion is all of this NPIP testing is a way to try and keep the factory farms safe, because their birds are anything but healthy. The only reason I test is because it is the only way I can show or sell chicks. If a day came that it was option, I would drop testing my birds in a heart beat. I do not need a faceless entity telling me how to manage my flock. I am glad you were able to catch the diesease though! Does anyone have an experience with breeding for resistance to Laryngo?

John W Blehm

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2017, 02:44:58 PM »
I couldn't find a thumbs up or LIKE button, but I sure agree with a lot of what has been said.

Quote from: Royce
But when I boil it all down to its purest form it's still just a hobby.  They're still just a bunch of birds.
:) :D ;D 8) ::) (that is like a 5 start rating!)

Quote from: Royce
Personally, I seriously doubt whether ILT, Mareks, or any other disease is gonna be totally eliminated.
And eliminating disease, ailments and such have never been my goal.  Managing or controlling is my aim.

Quote from: Jensen
The only reason I test is because it is the only way I can show or sell chicks. If a day came that it was option, I would drop testing my birds in a heart beat.
"The Less Government We Have, The Better" Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sure..there is much more to agree with!

Max Strawn

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2017, 02:50:36 PM »
Thanks everyone for the support and thanks for the offer Russ. We'll see how things play out.

John, why did you give up vaccinating? Were you still seeing signs of infection?

I have no intention of putting myself in a bubble. I will continue to show. Showing means probable exposure to disease. Due to Texas regulations, vaccinating should protect me from any future involuntary depopulation. Without it, it would be risky to buy, sell or trade birds with anyone. If I sold birds without vaccinating there's a good chance I would be in this same situation in the future. Vaccinating is much easier than depopulating.

I don't medicate and I don't feed medicated feeds. I will vaccinate and continue to cull any birds that show the slightest sign of sickness.

Every state has their own regulations. Based on Texas regulations, this will be my plan moving forward. Hopefully it will keep me under the radar.

John W Blehm

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Re: A Hard Lesson on Biosecurity
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2017, 08:57:53 PM »
John, why did you give up vaccinating? Were you still seeing signs of infection?

No, but I did get tried of vaccinating so many birds twice a year for ILT.  I also used to vaccinate for other things, like Newcastle/Bronchitis diseases.  Again it took time and money.  Even though I have much time and money invested in my birds I made the decision to stop vaccinating for anything and attempt to breed for resistance.  I don't kill every bird that gets sick and of course I try to keep stress to a minimum and I continue to medicate when I feel it is needed. 
I believe most backyard chickens have some form of CRD and/or other diseases.  Just because they seem healthy doesn't mean they don't have it.  It means it hasn't flared up due to enough stress. 
ILT is a herpes virus and I liken it to the cold sores I get on my lip that are also a herpes virus.  I can go for years without seeing one, but with stress it comes to life.  The main reason I grew a mustache many decades ago was because of the cold sores, just above my upper lip, caused by the "stress"
(irritation) brought on by my electric shaver. 
When my birds brought back ILT from a show in Iowa (I showed 4 bantams in 1992) many got sick and some died, but some birds weren't as bad as others and not all of them would have died from it if I hadn't depopulated them.  A cotton swap in the roof of their mouth will come out bloody (from my experience) if they have ILT.  Those that recover can pass it on to their offspring and *"Chickens that recover remain carriers for up to 24 months", but again without enough stress to manifest the symptoms you wouldn't know it (my opinion only).  I  took 3 birds to MSU, in East Lansing, for necropsies...one live bird and two dead.  It took a long time for the report to come back, but when it did I was surprised to see the 2 dead chickens also tested positive for MG!  Maybe the double whammy stress of MG with ILT meant the difference between those that got really sick/died and those that didn't appear affected.
I'm not giving advise here...just my perspective.   

http://ameraucanaalliance.org/forum/index.php?topic=538.msg3870#msg3870
*LARYNGOTRACHEITIS, Transmission, Penn State PNNB page 46
« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 09:00:52 PM by John W Blehm »