B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food is hosting free information sessions for small-flock poultry owners on and around Vancouver Island amid ongoing avian influenza outbreaks.
The ministry says the sessions, happening Oct. 12-14 on Salt Spring Island and in the Cowichan and Comox valleys, will be led by veterinary specialists with the provincial government.
The specialists will focus on avian flu, including how people can protect their flocks and prepare for potential impact if birds become sick, and will also give attendees a free biosecurity kit.
The sessions are happening at:
- Glenora Community Hall, 3660 Glenora Rd., Duncan, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12
- Merville Hall, 1245 Fenwick Rd., Merville, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13
- Lions Club of Salt Spring Island, 103 Bonnet Ave., Salt Spring Island, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fri, Oct. 14
Although there is no cost to attend a session, the ministry says seating is limited and registration is mandatory. People can register online here.
Avian flu, a federally regulated disease, poses an increased risk to commercial poultry farms and small flocks each spring and fall with the migration of waterfowl and other birds, according to the ministry.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has declared 22 cases of the flu in B.C. since mid-April. The most recent case, detected on Sept. 27 in the North Cowichan area, is in a small flock of poultry west of Duncan.
The CFIA says signs of the flu include, among others, a drop in egg production, a sudden spike in mortality rate and quietness or extreme depression. The Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program hotline, 1-866-431-2473, accepts reports of dead wild birds.