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Serving: NE

Avian influenza takes toll on Nebraska poultry

Edwin Remsberg/Getty images Chickens
ON THE WATCH: Poultry producers across the state and around the country on keeping a watchful eye for symptoms of HPAI, a disease that has been devastating to the country’s poultry flocks.
There are eight confirmed cases of HPAI on Nebraska poultry farms.

Last week saw two more confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Nebraska.

A large commercial poultry flock of more than 2.1 million laying hens in Knox County became the seventh confirmed case of HPAI in the state when it was announced by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on April 27. Two days later, the eighth confirmed case, a small backyard mixed flock in Washington County, was announced.

The April 27 announcement also included an extension of a controlled movement order prohibiting birds of any type at events — including but not limited to fairs, expositions, swap meets, exotic sales and live bird auctions. The original such order was set to expire April 30, but it is now extended through 11:59 p.m. May 15 and will be reevaluated at that time.

These new HPAI announcements come on the heels of a confirmed case in another large commercial poultry farm in Dixon County, with a flock of 1.7 million laying hens on April 13. All of this bad news for poultry operators of all types and sizes serves as a stark reminder that HPAI is a major concern for their flocks.

To date, four large commercial operations have had confirmed cases of HPAI, including the Knox County and Dixon County farms, and two large broiler operations in Butler County.

The other four cases included a small flock of mixed chickens and waterfowl in Merrick County of 100 birds or fewer, one such case in Holt County with mixed chickens and waterfowl of 50 birds or fewer, and the same type of flocks in Scotts Bluff County, and now, in Washington County.


Adding previously reported APHIS numbers to the new confirmed cases, more than 4.8 million birds are now affected in Nebraska. Neighboring states are also experiencing the challenges of HPAI, with Iowa having 15 affected commercial flocks and three affected backyard flocks, for a total of 13,373,851 birds affected in this outbreak as of the end of April.

South Dakota had 35 affected commercial flocks and one backyard flock confirmed, affecting 1,609,840 total birds. Missouri reported six affected commercial flocks and three affected backyard flocks for a total of 434,760 birds affected.

Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming have confirmed cases, but to a lesser extent. Nationally, as of April 29, APHIS reported that 160 commercial flocks and 91 backyard flocks have been affected, impacting more than 35.52 million birds in 30 states.


Symptoms of HPAI include decreased water consumption; decreased egg production; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; swelling of the head, eyelids, comb and wattles; purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs; cough, sneezing and respiratory distress; unstable coordination; and sudden death.

Report sick birds to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2351. Learn more at

TAGS: Poultry
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