BDN interviews Brzozowski, Rebar about keeping backyard chickens healthy

Richard Brzozowski, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension food system program administrator, and John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension, offered recommendations to the Bangor Daily News for an article about how to keep backyard chicken flocks healthy. Brzozowski advises developing and practicing an effective biosecurity plan. “You need to have these principles you follow and observe and develop a sort of routine and then know what to look for so you can spot any health issues,” he said. The only 100 percent effective way prevent any disease transfer is to place a flock in confinement, according to Brzozowski. But that’s not popular among today’s part-time poultry farmers who like to watch their small flocks enjoy free range time, Rebar said. In these cases, Rebar suggested keeping a flock as separate as possible from any other birds by using fencing and making sure anyone visiting hasn’t had contact with other birds within the previous 24 hours; avoiding introducing new birds without first quarantining the newcomers for at least two weeks; keeping things clean; immediately removing any dead or dying birds; and practicing safe and effective pest control as rodents can carry diseases harmful to poultry and humans. Rebar recommended poultry owners contact UMaine Extension if any of their birds dies suddenly for no apparent reason. UMaine operates a state-of-the-art diagnostic lab capable of performing necropsies to determine exact cause of death and advise the poultry owner, the article states.