Prepare for fall migration and HPAI exposure to flocks

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As the summer solstice passes and the days begin to grow shorter, now is the time to begin planning for the fall autumnal waterfowl migration from their summering grounds up north to their wintering grounds in the south. August and September bring the teal south rapidly. Teal are some of the first waterfowl species to begin their migration south and will be met with an early hunting season in many southern states in early September.

This year’s southern migration will bring exposure to poultry farms from waterfowl that have been cohabitating with other species in summer breeding grounds. Migration also brings new hatchlings from 2023, and the question of how they have been affected by the HPAI virus circulating through the species last year leaves a lot of unanswered questions. In preparation for the migration and exposures that could occur, producers should begin reevaluating biosecurity plans, implementation, training, and reemphasizing the culture of biosecurity established on farms. Producers should meet with employees and provide refresher training on entry procedures. The lines of separation should be reemphasized and remarked so it is clearly known to all employees and visitors.

In preparation for migration and evaluating plans, UEP’s Animal Health and Biosecurity Committee recommends producers utilize the UEP Biosecurity Task Force resources for egg producers developed earlier this year. The last commercial detection was on a turkey farm on April 19, 2023, with the last backyard detection on May 18, 2023. APHIS continues to report positives in wild birds, totaling 7,144 to date. Note, many of the recent postings for wild birds show hunter harvest or other birds from the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, and due to the number of birds sampled, there was an extensive backlog, resulting in some of the most recent detections being from samples submitted during the 2022 hunting season. UEP has asked the agency to consider posting the sample and detection dates to give a more accurate picture of when birds were collected.