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Turkey Production Recovering After November Avian Flu Case

After a stressful 3-1/2 months for poultry producers across Manitoba, U.S. borders have reopened and it’s back to production as usual. Borders reopened to all poultry February 1, 2011, 11 weeks after the Manitoba avian flu case was first reported in a turkey breeder farm.

The young breeder who was forced to destroy all of his turkeys and shut down production is now back in business. “The breeder has received a clean bill of health by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The barns were cleaned and disinfected. He already has got new turkeys for next year,” said Bill Uruski chair of the Turkey Producers of Manitoba.

Uruski summarized the avian ordeal to members attending the annual meeting.

“Our year ended with a blast; not the kind of blast you would attribute with having a good time. One of our breeder farms contracted avian influenza during the last week in November. The visible impact was a sudden drop in egg production but no deaths to the birds. The farm was quarantined by CFIA prior to the diagnosis being determined.”

Traceback from the infected farm led to the quarantine of a hatchery, as well as two other breeder farms and one commercial turkey farm. Depopulation occurred on the infected farm, as well as the hatchery. Over 600,000 eggs in incubators, as well as poults that would have been destined for U.S. farms had to be destroyed.

Since the breeder had to destroy all his birds and he was only 10 per cent through production Uruski estimates that he lost at least a year’s income.

It is still unknown how this strain of avian flu infected the barn.

With files from Ron Friesen


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