Help Protect NC Flocks From High Path Avian Influenza

— Written By and last updated by Annette Adkison
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Calling all youth flock owners to help in protecting all North Carolina flocks!

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (known as High Path AI or HPAI) is a deadly disease for chickens and turkeys which is caused by a virus that can be easily spread.

Migratory birds moving over the Atlantic flyway are able to carry the virus without showing symptoms. North Carolina is part of the Atlantic flyway. As of Jan. 27, 2022, 53 migratory birds (hunter-harvested) tested positive for a serious and fatal type of HPAI (Eurasian H5 HPAI).

Do you have a backyard flock? Backyard flocks have the potential to come in close contact with migratory birds that could possibly carry HPAI. This is what you can do to help protect your flock during this critical time in the next 30 days (the time frame migratory birds are most likely flying over NC):

Being ‘COOPED UP’ is a good thing! Keep your flock ENCLOSED in a pen without access to wild birds (avoid uncovered free ranging of birds for next 30 days).

Know the signs of High Path Avian Influenza:

  • Know the Lows:  Low energy, appetite, activity, & egg production
  • Oopsy Eggs:  soft shelled or misshapen
  • Unwell Swells:  Swollen head, eyelids, combs, & wattles
  • Nasty Noses:  Runny nares (aka nostrils of birds) & difficulty breathing
  • Tripping, Tremors, & Twisting: head & neck twist, birds stumble, circle, & fall
  • Unpopular Purple & Green Goo:  Purple wattles, combs, legs, & Green diarrhea

See the signs in your flock? Make a call asap to your: 

  •  Local veterinarian
  • NC State Veterinary Office at 919-707-3250
  • or NC Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System at 919-733-3986


  • B – Bird Boots – a pair of shoes or boots that go only to your coop or are cleaned before leaving your coop or farm 
  • E – Eliminate Exposure- to outside birds  
  • S – Super Soap – clean clothes, vehicles, hands, etc. that have contact with other flocks or migratory birds
  • T- Tell – see symptoms, make sure a veterinarian knows

Dr. Mike Martin, our state veterinarian, is asking for each of us to do our part to help prevent the spread of HPAI and protect all of our flocks. It is time to practice your B.E.S.T. Biosecurity! Read more about these latest outbreaks or find out more about Avian Influenza.

*Image courtesy of Artic National Wildlife Refuge