Updated: May 12
Our main goal is to provide the sanctuary residents with a happy and healthy life. Sometimes that involves managing each individual's unique care needs, but
sometimes the threats are bigger.
Case in point. There is an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza spreading within the U.S.
This is serious business, as avian flu can cause mortality rates of up to 100% of infected birds. Plus, there is no known treatment – and for this reason, we monitor all outbreaks very closely.
In less than a month, this outbreak has already resulted in tragic consequences for more than a million chickens and turkeys in other parts of the country where birds live together in high densities.
So far, local cases are restricted to a few species of wild birds, but that could change at any time.
We have safety measures in place, but we are also ramping up our protections to keep all of our domestic birds:
Housing: To make sure our birds can continue to live a healthy life and be safe, we have started building some outdoor aviaries off of their coops inside their large yards. They will still be able to have plenty of space, but we will be able to keep them covered so that wild birds, a major source of contamination, cannot access the areas of our healthy birds.
The project is no small undertaking. The aviaries will cost approximately $1,500 each, and we need a minimum of 5 to create large spaces for our current groups!
Quarantine: Another part of our protocols is testing incoming animals for diseases that can easily and quickly spread and become deadly to their new friends.
Each species has its own set of viruses and diseases we have to watch for. Quarantine time when new animals arrive gives us the chance to run all the tests needed and receive results.
Staff PPE: We also worry for our staff's health and safety. While not all diseases can be spread to humans (zoonotic), some can.
Staff may be required to wear gloves, gowns, and shoe covers at times to prevent their exposure and limit the risk of spreading disease around the sanctuary.
Visitors: We ask guests to step in a foot bath upon arrival, that they sanitize hands, and at times we even limit interactions based on what may be going around.
Our avian friends aren't the only residents vulnerable to these high mortality diseases.
In the last few years, there has been a threat of an African swine fever virus, and we ended up closing for tours for a time to prevent the spread onto the sanctuary when it got to the U.S.
In short, while these disease threats are scary – and we've all been living through this for the past two years, taking a proactive and reactive strategy keeps all our residents, friends, and family safe and healthy.
Thanks for reading. We love to hear your stories. 🐔