Preventing and Spotting Avian Flu on Hobby Farms

Avian Flu or H5N1 is a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that so far has been found in three counties in Indiana, Dubois, Greene and Elkhart. So far 171,224 commercial turkeys and 10,679 commercial ducks have been affected. There have been zero cases of Avian Flu in Montgomery County and I want to press that there is not a high concern but it is important to be aware of the virus is in the state.

There have been cases on hobby farms and flocks nationwide in 2022 and it is important to practice some basic biosecurity practices for the home flocks.

Three Main Components of Biosecurity:

  1. Isolation- Keep your birds away from wildlife (wild birds and other animals)
    • Don’t let dogs and cats in with your flock
    • Keep wild birds away
    • Remove dead birds quickly
    • Quarantine all new birds at lest 21 days before mixing them with your current birds
  2. Traffic Control- limit number of people that visit your flock
    • Limit people coming to see your birds and limit going to see other people’s birds
    • Have visitors put clean boots on and ask them not to interact with other poultry
    • before visiting your flock
  3. Sanitation- keep your equipment and buildings clean.
    • Have designated shoes and clothes to wear around your flock. Shower and change
    • clothes before and after seeing your birds
    • Clean out coops at least twice a year
    • Wash and disinfect water containers weekly

The Indiana Board of Animal Health is working hard around the state testing and monitoring trying to control the spread of the virus. If you see your flock or wild birds showing signs of Avian Flu please contact the Indiana Board of Animal Health or the USDA Healthy Birds Hotline 866-536-7593.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Sudden high mortality rate
  • Lack of energy and quiet birds
  • Swelling of head, comb, eyelids, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple discoloration of wattles, comb, and legs
  • Nasal discharge, coughing, and sneezing
  • Diarrhea (particularly green in color)
  • Decrease in feed and water consumption
  • Neurologic signs

If you have any more questions or concerns about Avian Flu you can always contact me by email or phone.

[email protected]


Master Gardeners Plant sale is May 7th 8am- 1pm at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

– Tricia Herr is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator for the Montgomery County Purdue Extension Office. She can be reached at [email protected]