USDA raises awareness of bird flu among backyard chickens

Officials want to prevent an outbreak of avian flu in Georgia. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said poultry production is a $28 billion industry in the state and employs more than 100,000 people.


While bird flu is mainly concentrated in avian populations, as the name suggests, there are exceptions, and the latest outbreak has led to the first case of a human contracting the disease from a mammal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says there has been a significant increase in the number of backyard chicken and turkey owners, who might not be as knowledgeable about the best poultry hygiene practices.

Dr. Katy Burden, a Veterinary Medical Officer with USDA’s Poultry Health Team, joined “All Things Considered” to share some recommendations for keeping a flock healthy.

Dr. Burden said more than 10 million households in the U.S. have backyard poultry, and more than 1,100 flocks have been infected since this outbreak began in 2022; more than 600 human cases were from backyard farmers.

Christopher Alston contributed to this report.