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Ag officials confirm 18th bird flu infection this fall

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Ag officials confirm 18th bird flu infection this fall

Dec 06, 2023 | 4:25 pm ET
By Jared Strong
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Ag officials confirm 18th bird flu infection this fall
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A backyard chicken raised to lay eggs. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

A highly transmissible avian influenza that is often fatal to domestic birds recently infected a small backyard flock in Mills County, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

The mixed-species flock had about 11 birds. Infected flocks are culled to prevent the spread of the virus, which is often transmitted by wild, migrating birds.

It was the 18th detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Iowa’s domestic bird flocks this fall. Those flocks collectively had nearly 3 million birds.

That total was mostly driven by two large chicken egg-laying facilities that had more than a million birds apiece. Iowa is the nation’s leading egg-producing state.

In the past month, Minnesota and South Dakota have each had nearly twice the number of virus detections as Iowa, but their flock sizes each totaled a quarter of Iowa’s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s because the other states’ infections have been found mostly at commercial turkey facilities with tens of thousands of birds.

The other affected flocks in Iowa this fall include:

Nov. 29: A mixed-species backyard flock in Woodbury County with about 31 birds.
Nov. 29: A mixed-species backyard flock in Woodbury County with about 10 birds.
Nov. 23: A commercial egg-laying facility in Sioux County with about 1.6 million chickens.
— Nov. 15: A mixed-species backyard flock in Benton County with about 86 birds.
— Nov. 13: A game bird hatchery in Kossuth County with about 13,000 pheasants, quail and chukars.
— Nov. 13: A mixed-species backyard flock in Cerro Gordo County with about 75 birds.
— Nov. 10: A commercial egg-laying facility in Taylor County with about 1.2 million chickens.
— Nov. 10: A backyard mixed species flock in Jones County with 23 birds.
— Nov. 7: A game bird farm in Kossuth County with about 8,576 pheasants, peafowl and chickens.
— Nov. 3: A commercial chicken breeding facility in Hamilton County with about 15,000 birds.
— Nov. 3: A duck farm with a backyard mixed species flock in Clay County with about 7,361 birds.
— Nov. 3: A duck farm in Clay County with about 8,270 birds.
— Nov. 3: A duck farm in Clay County with about 1,700 birds.
— Oct. 31: A commercial turkey flock in Buena Vista County with about 30,000 birds.
— Oct. 23: A commercial turkey flock in Pocahontas County with about 47,500 birds.
— Oct. 23: A backyard flock in Guthrie County with about 50 birds.
— Oct. 20: A commercial turkey flock in Buena Vista County with about 50,000 birds.