Poultry owners - commercial and recreational - are being warned to take precautions to help mitigate an avian flu outbreak in B.C. (Submitted photo)

Poultry owners - commercial and recreational - are being warned to take precautions to help mitigate an avian flu outbreak in B.C. (Submitted photo)

Province holds avian flu info session for Okanagan small-flock poultry owners

The information session comes after an avian flu outbreak in the North Okanagan

After nearly 100 birds at Spallumcheen’s O’Keefe Ranch had to be killed following an avian flu outbreak, the B.C. government will be holding an information session for small-flock poultry owners.

The outbreak was declared by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Sept. 18, which noted the birds were non-poultry, meaning the birds were used for reasons other than the production of animal products.

This outbreak follows one of many after the avian flu (H5N1), a federally regulated disease, started spreading worldwide with the first instance reported in B.C. occurring in the North Okanagan on April 13.

Now, the province is bringing in government veterinary specialists to speak to small-flock poultry owners in Kelowna about the avian influenza virus, how they can protect flocks and how to prepare for potential effects if birds become sick.

Attendees will learn about:

•improving flock or farm biosecurity to reinforce against disease outbreaks;

•recognizing the signs of avian influenza and how to report cases;

•how foreign animal disease regulations affect small-flock poultry;

•what to expect if a flock is positive for avian influenza; and

•resources available for non-commercial bird owners, including diagnostic services through the BC Animal Health Centre.

The session will be held at Reid Hall from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29. Attendees will receive a free biosecurity kit containing tools and information to help maintain good biosecurity practices.

READ MORE: Avian flu found in Spallumcheen birds

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