Bird owners struggling with stress or anxiety around HPAI can contact Colorado Crisis Services by calling 1-844-494-TALK (8255) or texting TALK to 38255. Farmers and ranchers can receive a voucher for six free sessions with an ag-competent provider through the Colorado Agricultural Addiction and Mental Health Program (campforhealth.com).

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A Weld County commercial egg facility where bird flu was detected has begun euthanizing its 1.36 million chickens.

The facility produces eggs for consumption, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was confirmed among the flock on April 29, and the facility began euthanizing the birds on May 1.

The state pointed out that the virus does not pose a threat to food safety.

“Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly,” the state said.

Once the fast-spreading virus is detected in a facility — even if it’s just one case — all birds must be euthanized, ag department spokesperson Olga Robak told FOX31. Once the virus enters domestic poultry, there’s a 90-100% fatality rate, and Robak said euthanization is “more humane.”

“Nearly all of the detections in domestic poultry have been from a single point of introduction from a wild bird shedding the virus,” the state said in a situation report. “Because of the prompt response to detections by state and federal animal health officials, we are not seeing the same flock-to-flock spread we have seen in past outbreaks. This indicates that our response strategy to quickly contain the virus is working to limit lateral spread.”

Poultry and poultry products in parts of Weld County have been under quarantine since April 26 because of the bird flu detection.

Robak said the state is working to make sure people who interact with poultry are routinely tested and working with the health department.

Where HPAI has been detected among Colorado domestic birds

  • Pitkin County: 36 poultry impacted, backyard poultry
  • Montrose County: 60,000 poultry impacted, commercial broiler breeder
  • La Plata County: 38 poultry impacted, backyard poultry
  • Weld County: 1.36 million poultry impacted, commercial table egg layer

Bird flu prevention tips

According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, there are ways to help prevent any impacts from the virus:

  • Backyard, hobby and commercial bird owners should immediately report any illness or death in their flocks to the Colorado State Veterinarian’s office at 303-869-9130.
  • Coloradans with birds should limit their interaction with wild birds.
  • In an area where there are migratory birds, keep bird feeders away from your birds.
  • Wear separate shoes when going into coops.
  • Make sure poultry is kept away from places where they could interact with wild birds or their feces.
  • If you notice any dead wild birds, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Poultry owners across Colorado are advised to review and increase their biosecurity measures and monitor their flocks for clinical signs of HPAI, which include:

  • sudden death without clinical signs
  • lack of energy or appetite
  • decreased egg production
  • soft‐shelled or misshapen eggs
  • swelling or purple discoloration of head, eyelids, comb, hocks
  • nasal discharge
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • incoordination
  • diarrhea