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Avian Influenza What to Do as a Backyard Grower

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Publication Number: M2438
View as PDF: M2438.pdf

Promptly report any observation of domestic or wild birds with AI symptoms!

If you suspect your birds have avian influenza, report it online at or by calling the Animal Disaster hotline at 1-888-722-3106.

Avian influenza (AI) is a disease caused by Type A viruses. These viruses thrive in wild aquatic birds and can infect domestic poultry such as backyard birds. Infection can occur through contact with fecal material, saliva, or mucous. Infection causes bird illness or even death.

Monitor Your Flock!

Chicken with swollen face and discolored comb.

Mild AI symptoms are similar to a respiratory disease:

  • Swollen face
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Nasal discharge

Discolored chicken feet.

Severe symptoms include:

  • Decreased feed and water intake
  • Decreased production
  • Increased mortality and morbidity
  • Soft eggshells
  • Discolored combs and feet
  • Diarrhea

Protect Your Flock!

  • Practice a strong biosecurity program.
  • Use dedicated footwear for your coop.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Don’t let poultry drink from an untreated water source.
  • Prevent contact between your birds and wild birds.
  • Limit hunting trips and contact with any other birds
    (neighbor flocks, auctions, and markets).
  • Report sick or dying birds to proper officials.

Questions about avian influenza?

Call your local MSU Extension agent, the MSU Extension poultry specialist at (662) 325-3416, or the Mississippi Board of Animal Health at (601) 359-1170.

Find information on infected flocks by county.

Find information on how to protect your flock.

M2438 (03-23) • Produced by Agricultural Communications.

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