Archive for the ‘Food concerns in the news’ Category

Virulent Newcastle Disease Found in Chickens in California


Cases of Virulent Newcastle disease (vND) in chickens have been reported in the Western US. This highly contagious virus can cause disease and death in various kinds of poultry, as well as in parrots. Nearly 100 percent of unvaccinated birds may die. Even flocks vaccinated for vND are not completely safe.

There have been 422 cases of vND in California, including 132 in San Bernardino County, 246 in Riverside County, 42 in Los Angeles County, 1 in Ventura County, and 1 in Alameda County; 1 case in Utah County, Utah; 1 case in Coconino County, Arizona.

Symptoms are varied but may include lethargy; lack of appetite; respiratory issues (sneezing, gasping, coughing); fluids coming from nose and mouth; greenish, watery diarrhea; swelling of eyes and neck; and sudden death. It may also cause paralysis. Note that

The virus often originates in illegally imported exotics that have not undergone USDA quarantine.  It can be transmitted by contact with infected birds; by feed, water, air, manure; on hands, clothes, shoes, and equipment; by animal feet; and in incubators contaminated by eggs from infected hens.

FAQs for Chicago Chicken Owners

Do I need to be worried? Probably not, unless you’ve traveled to the areas affected and interacted with poultry or poultry owners.

What is the risk to humans? There are no reported cases of people getting sick from eating infected poultry that is properly cooked. In humans, the virus that causes vND can cause conjunctivitis (pink eye).

How can I keep my chickens safe? Practice good biosecurity, using the following tips:

  • Quarantine any new birds for 30 days.
  • Know your flock’s history. Do not take in birds whose origins and bill of health are not known.
  • Wash hands and clean shoes thoroughly when entering or leaving a place with poultry.
  • Disinfect equipment (e.g., such as coops, incubators, feeders) before it comes on to or leaves your property.
  • For more info on biosecurity, see the USDA’s tips at the Defend the Flock website.

What do I do if I think my bird has vND? Ask an avian vet to run a pathology report. This disease should be reported to state and federal officials. Call the USDA at 1-866-536-7593 and the Illinois Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare at 217-782-4944

Where do I find more information on vND?

USDA Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service’s vND page

Photos of poultry infected with vND

Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Animals pages

 

Chicago Tonight Covers Urban Agriculture


Chicago Tonight covered urban ag in this fun piece. They focused on goats and touched on bees and (of course!) chickens!

A blow to urban and suburban agriculture in Michigan


At a special meeting Monday,  the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development removed Right to Farm protection for farm animals raised in neighborhoods with more than 13 homes within 1/8 of a mile of the animals, or with any home within 250 feet of the proposed facility….

The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 to protect farmers from the complaints of people from the city who moved to the country and then attempted to make it more urban with anti-farming ordinances. These new changes will affect residents of rural Michigan too. Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is on six and a half acres and homes 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. This small Michigan farm also homes sheep for wool and a few turkeys and meat chickens to provide fresh healthy, local poultry.

Read more about this change here and here.

 

The Importance of Quarantine: Great Article


Quarantine is important to any flock of birds, exotic or domestic. This article illustrates the effects of disease in a New Hampshire chicken-keeping community.

For more information on chicken diseases, join me on May 31 for my next chicken health class at the Oak Park Conservatory: http://www.pdop.org/parks-facilities/oak-park-conservatory/

I’ll also be leading a health class in July with Angelic Organics Learning Center.

Michigan Deals a Blow to Small-Scale Farmers


It’s hard to believe a basic right such as the ability to grow you own food and choose what you eat would be taken away by the government, but that’s apparently what has happened in Michigan.

Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week thanks to a new ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1235774/michigan-loses-right-to-farm-this-week-a-farewell-to-backyard-chickens-and-beekeepers/#i1AK46CdkMJT3hv4.99

Where are we headed next?

 

 

Urban Ag Featured on now.chicago


Earlier this month, Home to Roost participated in an urban ag segment on George Blaise’s now.chicago show on WCIU. Watch the footage here.  Also featured were Emmanuel Pratt of Sweet Water Foundation and Greg Fischer of Wildblossom Winery and Meadery. Pratt focuses on education urban dwellers about agriculture, especially his tilapia programs. Fischer’s locally produced mead (honey wine) provides pollinators and an eco-friendly, local beverage selection.

Thanks to WCIU for the coverage!

Chinese company to buy Smithfield Foods


Another breaking news story: Needing Pork, China Is to Buy a U.S. Supplier