The MDAR is advising backyard and commercial poultry owners to practice strong biosecurity measures to prevent domestic poultry from having contact with wild birds. Specifically for birds trying to attain or maintain “Organic” certification, this may mean temporarily confining the birds inside a shelter to prevent or minimize contact with wild birds, their feathers and droppings. This option continues to be possible under USDA CFR rule §205.239 Livestock living conditions, which states in part,
(b) The producer of an organic livestock operation may provide temporary confinement or shelter for an animal because of: (3) Conditions under which the health, safety, or well-being of the animal could be jeopardized;
Should you notice unusual signs of sickness in your flock, you should immediately contact your local veterinarian, MDAR at 617-626-1795, or USDA at 508-363-2290.
Protect your flock with excellent biosecurity. Your veterinarian can assist you in developing additional biosecurity protocols for your operation. Other excellent biosecurity resources include: poultrybiosecurity.org and www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian. You may also contact MDAR for assistance with any questions: 617-626-1795.