All feed and grain stores selling poultry are advised to take precautions to protect poultry flocks against two serious poultry diseases that have broken out in the U.S. recently.

Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI), is a respiratory disease of poultry, turkeys, gamebirds and waterfowl. Symptoms of low pathogenic AI are typically mild and in many cases not present. The disease, however, can manifest itself through depression, decreased food consumption, respiratory signs (coughing and sneezing), and a decrease in egg production. For more information on AI visit the APHIS website.

Exotic Newcastle Disease (END), is an acute rapid-spreading contagious respiratory disease of all birds. END is a virus, it is characterized by respiratory distress (gasping), or diarrhea, or encephalitis (brain infection). Birds can die so rapidly that you may not see these signs. END is highly fatal to young chicks and it causes a severe drop in egg production. For more information on END, visit the APHIS website.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), has established a surveillance program for AI/END. Diagnostic services are available through this program at no cost to the flock owner.

Flocks experiencing sudden mortality, respiratory symptoms, or swollen heads should contact the Department as soon as possible for assistance in submittal of these birds to the laboratory for necropsy at 617-626- 1795.

Outbreaks of Avian Influenza and Exotic Newcastle disease highlight the importance of increased biosecurity and record keeping for all poultry facilities. Feed and grain stores should evaluate the record keeping and biosecurity on their premises.

  • All poultry should be inspected, at least, daily to insure they are in good health. Only clean shavings, cages, feeders and waterers should be used in holding areas.
  • Birds must be purchased from National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) approved flocks.
  • Only birds which are currently certified salmonella pullorum-typhoid clean or approved by NPIP may move within Massachusetts, unless sold for immediate slaughter. Copies of these documents should be made available to anyone who purchases chicks, started pullets or mature birds.
  • All birds destined to enter an established flock should be isolated from that main flock for a minimum of 10 days.
  • All bird transportation crates should be clean prior to use, after use they should be cleaned and disinfected or disposed of.

Any time poultry is commingled there is a potential for disease spread. It is a requirement that a record of sales include name, address, phone number and amount purchased. This requirement would apply to birds purchased by the feed and grain stores.

For additional questions please call 617-626-1795.