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Serving: West

Calif. turkey farmers met demand despite HPAI

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The disease had decimated 685,000 birds in California before Thanksgiving.

California hasn't escaped this fall's wave of highly pathogenic avian influenza cases in the West, but producers were able to meet Thanksgiving demand, according to an organization's report.

It’s been an exceptionally stressful season for Golden State turkey farmers, ever since the H5NI avian influenza reached California late this summer and was confirmed at a turkey farm, the California Farm Bureau reports.

Related: Avian flu cases harm producers, poultry prices

By Nov. 14, the outbreak had decimated 685,000 birds in California, including 493,800 turkeys, according to the Farm Bureau. As such, wholesale prices for frozen turkeys in the Golden State were 30% higher, the CFB observed.

The threat of HPAI has been rising again in the West, as multiple new detections this fall have prompted agriculture officials throughout the region to remind flock owners to take precautions.

Related: Avian flu roaring back in West, nation

University experts say the reason for the increased spread of the virus now is the same as when the virus first took hold last spring: seasonal migration.

While any infected bird can spread the disease, ducks and other waterfowl are particularly likely to do so because of the distances they travel and the amount of time they spend in lakes and rivers, which can lead to fecal contamination of water sources.

Source: California Farm Bureau
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