Poultry Health

Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza (AI) is a flu virus that may cause illness in domestic poultry, fowl and birds. Migratory waterfowl are a natural reservoir for this disease. Avian Influenza Brochure

There are many strains of the AI virus. Based on the severity of illness caused by the virus, these strains are put into two classifications, low pathogenic (LPAI) and highly pathogenic (HPAI). LPAI causes only minor illness and occurs naturally in migratory waterfowl. HPAI spreads rapidly and has a high death rate in birds.

  • HPAI has not been discovered in Texas.
  • The TAHC advises poultry owners to practice strong biosecurity and remain vigilant in examining the health of their birds. If your birds exhibit unusual death loss or signs of illness, or you observe large scale sickness and mortality of wild birds, call your private veterinarian or the TAHC immediately at 1-800-550-8242.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to consume chicken and eggs? AI is considered an animal health issue, not a food safety issue. All commercially produced poultry are tested for AI prior to being processed. Poultry products and eggs are safe for consumption. Poultry industry recommendations for handling and cooking of poultry should be followed to minimize risks.

Where does AI come from and how does it spread? AI virus strains often occur naturally in wild migratory birds without causing illness in those birds. Birds exposed to migratory waterfowl are at increased risk for contracting the virus. The movement of poultry, equipment and people can increased the risk of introducing AI into flocks.

What can bird owners do to protect their flocks? By practicing biosecurity, you can help reduce the chances of your birds being exposed to animal diseases such as AI.

  • Eliminate opportunities for your birds to interact with wild birds. We know that wild waterfowl are carriers of disease. The best way to avoid diseases that wildlife carry is to keep domestic animals separated from the wild.
  • If you have birds at home, do not visit another farm, home or facility that also has birds. If you must visit another premises, be sure to shower and put on clean clothes and shoes beforehand.
  • Remember that vehicles can be vehicles for disease transmission. Before you drive down the road, consider where you are going. Will you be heading to the fair, another farm or a live bird market? If the answer is yes, be sure your vehicle is clean and free of dirt, manure and other organic material.
  • Early detection can help prevent the spread of disease. Knowing the signs to look for and monitoring the health of your birds on a regular basis is very important. Some signs to look for include nasal discharge, unusually quiet birds, decreased food and water consumption, drop in egg production, and increased/unusual death loss in your flock.
  • Report sick and dead birds immediately. If your birds appear sick or you have experienced increased mortality, immediately call your private veterinarian or your TAHC region office.

Exotic Newcastle Disease

Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting most species of birds. Also known as Velogenic Viscerotropic Newcastle Disease (VVND), END is a foreign animal disease in the U.S. and is considered one of the most infectious diseases of birds and poultry. END can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry. END is a reportable disease to the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Infectious Laryngotracheitis

Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) is an acute, highly infectious, respiratory disease in poultry caused by a herpesvirus. ILT is a reportable disease to the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Pullorum Typhoid

Pullorum Typhoid (PT) are septicaemic diseases, primarily of chickens and turkeys, caused by bacteria. Fowl typhoid should not be confused with typhoid fever in humans, which is caused by a different organism. PT is a reportable disease to the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Poultry & Fowl Registration

The TAHC registers domestic and exotic fowl sellers, distributors, or transporters who do not participate in disease surveillance programs recognized by the TAHC. Registrations are good for one year from the date of issuance. Read the Domestic and Exotic Fowl Registration rules in Chapter 54 of the Texas Administrative Code.

If you have any questions about fowl registration, please contact your TAHC region office.