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Resources for Farmers

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) – Resources for Farmers

Be aware that HPAI has been detected in wild birds and commercial flocks in the eastern US in 2022. HPAI is a deadly disease for poultry. It can infect poultry such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl and wild birds, especially waterfowl. HPAI is extremely infectious and can spread rapidly from flock to flock. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

All those involved in poultry production to take extra steps to prevent their flocks from becoming infected. All poultry producers, from small backyard to large commercial operations, should take precautions to protect their birds and review their biosecurity plans. Biosecurity refers to everything you can do to keep diseases – and the viruses, bacteria, funguses, parasites, and other microorganisms that cause disease – away from birds, property, and people.

Best practices include:

  • Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission.
  • Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days.
  • Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl.
  • Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear.
  • Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours.
  • Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm.
  • After hauling birds to processors, clean and disinfect poultry transport coops and vehicles before they return to the farm.
  • Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds (NYS Department of Ag and Markets Division of Animal Industry, (518) 457-3502; or USDA (866) 536-7593)

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, poultry owners should keep their birds away from wild ducks and geese and their droppings. Outdoor access for poultry should be limited at this time.

Know the warning signs of HPAI:

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Decrease in egg production
  • Soft- or thin-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, comb and legs
  • Gasping for air (difficulty breathing)
  • Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose)
  • Stumbling or falling down
  • Diarrhea

To report sick birds, unexplained high number of deaths, or sudden drop in egg production, please contact AGM’s Division of Animal Industry at (518) 457-3502 or the USDA at (866) 536-7593.

Unusual illness and deaths of wild birds can be reported to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, (631) 444-0310.

General Resources:

Poultry Producers: Be on the Lookout for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza , information from Cornell Cooperative Extension

Avian Influenza FAQs , frequently asked questions about HPAI from Cornell Cooperative Extension

HPAI Update Webinar- for Backyard and Small Flocks, 3/7/22 , recording of webinar held on 3/7/22; Dr. Chad Wall, Field Veterinarian for NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, presented information on symptoms of the disease, keeping your poultry safe, and what will happen if the disease is found in your flock or a flock near you.

HPAI Update for Farmers with Poultry Flocks of Any and All Sizes, recording of webinar held on 3/14/22; Dr. Joy Bennett and Dr. Eireann Collins from NYS Department of Ag & Markets and Dr. Gavin Hitchener from the Cornell Duck Research Laboratory covered updates and information on highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), including the risks the virus poses, how it can spread bird to bird and flock to flock, how you can protect your birds and what considerations go into a biosecurity plan, and what happens if your farm or your neighbor’s farm has a positive HPAI detection.

NYS Department of Ag & Markets Website for Poultry

USDA Avian Influenza Webpage

USDA APHIS Detections of HPAI , list of current detections of HPAI in wild birds, commercial flocks, and backyard flocks

Tips for Reporting Unusual Mortality, a checklist of what to look for and things to consider

HPAI in Poultry: What to Expect if You Suspect , USDA fact sheet

Biosecurity Resources

Biosecurity refers to the measures taken to prevent the introduction and/or spread of disease in a poultry flock.

USDA Defend the Flock! , tools and resources to help everyone who works with or handles poultry follow proper biosecurity practices

Biosecurity for Small Poultry Flocks , fact sheet from eXtension

Prevention of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Pastured Poultry

Biosecurity for Poultry Farms , tips from NYS Department of Ag & Markets for self-assessment

Biosecurity Tips for Poultry Farm Visitors , guidance for farm visitors from NYS Department of Ag & Markets

Checklist for Coordinating Biosecurity at Your Farm , tips from the USDA for Biosecurity Coordinators

HPAI Biosecurity Checklist , tips from the USDA for good biosecurity

Improving Biosecurity With Wildlife Management Practices: Preventing Access to Barns and Other Facilities, fact sheet from USDA

Poultry Biosecurity, , a comprehensive site containing information about writing an in-depth biosecurity plan, training materials, and more.

Other Links and Resources

National Poultry Improvement Plan , NPIP is a voluntary State–Federal cooperative testing and certification program for poultry breeding flocks, baby chicks, poults, hatching eggs, hatcheries, and dealers.This program tests against poultry diseases including HPAI.Participating hatcheries also have biosecurity measures in place to help mitigate the risk of disease on their farms, which means a lower risk to you if you’re buying chicks. If you aren’t sure if the hatchery you source from is NPIP certified, you can use this NPIP Participants States page to search for them (the map is clickable).

Secure Poultry Supply

NYSDEC Guidelines for Handling Wild Birds

Antimicrobial Products Registered for Disinfection Use against Avian Influenza on Poultry Farms and Other Facilities , information on the over 200 disinfectants can be used against HPAI on hard, non-porous surfaces

Registered Products for Avian Influenza , list of EPA registered disinfectant products for HPAI


General information about HPAI:

Information Related to Public Health Concerns:

For more information, questions, or assistance:

Amy Barkley, Livestock and Beginning Farm Specialist, SWNY Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops at, (716) 640-0844

Last updated April 7, 2022