Help keep your backyard chickens safe and healthy

January 23, 2015

Multnomah County is urging backyard chicken owners to take special care to keep their birds and their family safe.

Bird flu, or avian influenza, has been found in backyard chickens in Oregon and wild birds in Washington state. A rare highly contagious strain was found in backyard poultry in December 2014 in Douglas County in southwest Oregon.  Also in December,  a different strain of bird flu was detected in a gyrfalcon that died after eating a wild duck in Whatcom County in northwest Washington.

The viruses have not caused any people to become ill. But they are contagious to wild and domestic birds. Other diseases like Exotic Newcastle disease, can also easily spread through flocks in a neighborhood.

The simple steps in this video can help you keep your birds safe.

Multnomah County Vector Control Manager Chris Wirth is urging chicken owners to call their  veterinarian with any symptoms such as coughing and lethargy and other signs of illness.
Homeowners who see a wild or migratory bird that appears to have died suspiciously should call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at  866-968-2600 or email