Poultry shows and exhibitions suspended statewide due to bird flu

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s state agriculture agency is suspending all poultry shows, exhibitions and swap meets through the end of May as it tries to contain the spread of bird flu.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) made the announcement Friday morning, following similar decisions from its counterparts in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and North Carolina.

Poultry exhibitions had already been suspended in Jefferson County after a commercial farm there confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Additional cases have since been reported in Rock County.

More than 2 million chickens had to be killed at the commercial farm in Jefferson County due to the outbreak in mid-March, and 22 birds from a backyard flock in Rock County were also killed, according to state statistics tracking the spread of the bird flu.

RELATED: Bird flu cases at Jefferson Co. poultry facility, backyard flock in Rock Co. likely came from wild birds

DATCP says it is encouraging poultry owners and those working with poultry to practice strict biosecurity to protect their flocks, and keep them indoors when possible.

Among the symptoms those working with poultry should be looking out for include:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Lack of energy or appetite
  • Decrease in egg production or soft, misshapen eggs
  • Purple discoloration of wattles, comb and legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose, coughing, sneezing
  • Stumbling or falling down
  • Diarrhea

Birds with those symptoms should be reported to DATCP at (608) 224-4872 during business hours or (800) 943-0003 during non-business hours or on the weekend. Reports can also be e-mailed in to datcpanimalimports@wisconsin.gov.