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Preventing diseases in backyard poultry

You can help prevent disease outbreaks in your poultry by practising good biosecurity.

To protect the health of your poultry and prevent serious diseases, such as Avian influenza (bird flu) and Newcastle disease, you can:

  • regularly clean your poultry housing, yard and equipment
  • don’t let your birds mix with wild birds
  • don’t let your birds’ feed and water become contaminated by droppings or other animal waste
  • ensure your birds’ drinking water is town, bore or chlorinated
  • keep new birds separated for 10 days before introducing them to your existing flock
  • use new egg cartons where possible, as used cartons can spread disease – if you use pre-used cartons keep them clean and away from birds
  • know the signs of disease to look for in your birds
  • wash your hands with soap and running water and dry them before and after collecting eggs and immediately after handling birds or touching anything in the area (such as feed and water troughs) where your birds live
  • have a rodent control program in place
  • report large numbers of sick or dead birds to your local veterinarian, Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and aviary birds can sometimes carry more common diseases including salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis or psittacosis that can spread between birds and people.

The following additional hygiene measures can help protect you and your family:

  • don’t kiss or cuddle your birds or hold them close to your face
  • don’t touch your face or mouth after handling birds, their eggs or equipment (such as feed and water troughs, nest boxes)
  • don’t let poultry inside your house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored
  • wear the same pair of shoes to tend to poultry and keep those shoes outside the house
  • only clean equipment used for birds outside your house.

Find out what else you can do to protect yourself from diseases that spread from animals to people.

If you are concerned about your health in relation to  poultry or aviary birds, contact your local Public Health Unit or family doctor.

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