commercial poultry farm

Resources for Farmers

HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu) – Resources for Farmers

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, including waterfowl, raptors, and corvids. HPAI is extremely infectious and can spread easily and rapidly from bird to bird and flock to flock. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this strain of HPAI is not known to present a public health concern.

All those involved in poultry production to take extra steps to prevent their flocks from becoming infected. All poultry producers, from small backyard hobby producers 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. Some best practices are listed below; find more at: Tips on Protecting Your Birds.

Best practices include:

  • Discourage unnecessary visitors and using 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
  • Clean and disinfecting poultry transport coops and vehicles between hauling birds to processors and returning to the farm
  • Reduce wild bird attractants by storing poultry feed in covered containers, cleaning any feed spillage immediately, fencing off ponds where wild birds congregate and remove any areas of standing water, keeping poultry waste and carcasses securely covered at all times, refraining from walking or moving equipment through areas where waterfowl droppings may be present, and limiting outdoor access for poultry during high-risk periods, such as migration season
  • 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); or for wild birds, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, (631) 444-0310.

Birds affected with HPAI may show one or more of the following clinical signs: sudden death without clinical signs; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks; purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs; nasal discharge; coughing, sneezing; lack of coordination; and diarrhea. The Highly Pathogenic strain can spread and kill an entire flock within days, backyard flocks included. Many, if not all, of the birds in a flock will be affected.

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.


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

Educational Webinars

HPAI Update Webinar- for Backyard and Small Flocks, 3/7/2 , 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 HPAI Fall Update Webinar, 10/12/22 . A recording of a webinar held on 10/12/22, hosted by CCE's Livestock Program Work Team and NYS Department of Ag and Markets. The webinar covered information about HPAI, an update on the current outbreak, and info about fall migration.

Suffolk County HPAI Fall Update Webinar, 10/26/22 . A recording of a webinar held on 10/26/22, covering an update on the outbreak and information about how to continue to protect your flocks.Presenters included Dr. Joanne Halloran and Dr. Jennifer Nightingale from the NYS Department of Ag & Markets and Dr. Gavin Hitchener from the Cornell Duck Research Laboratory.

Navigating Avian Influenza: Your Questions Answered. Dr. Patricia Fox from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) led a virtual Q&A on February 28, 2023 to address questions and concerns about avian influenza. The focused on what avian influenza is, how poultry are affected, and what growers can do to minimize the risk of outbreaks.

General Resources:

NYS Department of Ag & Markets Website for Poultry

USDA Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza WebpageVarious resources from USDA including resources for poultry producers and information on avian influenza and wild birds

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

Protect Your Poultry from Avian Influenza , information from USDA APHIS

HPAI – What to Expect at the Start of an Outbreak, fact sheet from USDA

HPAI – Restocking Your Poultry Flock, fact sheet from USDA

HPAI – Indemnity and Compensation When Your Flock Is Infected, information from USDA

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

Manage Wildlife to Prevent Avian Influenza , tips from the USDA

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.

Backyard Poultry, information from the CDC on keeping your birds and yourself healthy

Other Links and Resources

NationalPoultry 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

Avian Influenza Outbreak: Should You Take Down Your Bird Feeders?

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

Last updated July 16, 2024