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Denmark poultry farm takes extra steps to keep birds healthy

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Posted at 8:20 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 21:20:34-04

DENMARK (NBC 26) — As we see avian flu outbreaks in Wisconsin and across the nation, a local poultry farm is taking additional measures to ensure their birds stay safe and healthy.

Monday is egg processing day at Kellner Back Acre Garden in Denmark. Volunteers wash and sort the eggs before they get packed up.

"We have our big shipment that goes out on Tuesdays, so that's what we were getting ready for," said Nancy Kellner, owner of Kellner Back Acre Garden. "We run to local stores and restaurants is what we supply."

There are 200 turkeys, 300 ducks and 2,000 laying hens on the organic poultry farm. Kellner said the thought of avian flu affecting their healthy birds is concerning.

"It would wipe us out," Kellner said.

To make sure that doesn't happen, Kellner said they're keeping all flocks inside barns right now. She said only her husband and son are allowed inside.

"They have to walk through bleach water to wash their boots when they go in and out of the facility," Kellner said. "We have a lot of pigeons around here. So if they go in the water puddles and get a drink of water, if they're carrying it on there beak, or if they poop in the water, and then if we walk through the puddles, it can be brought in and caught to our good birds."

This step limits exposure to wild birds, something the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection recommends right now.

“That’s especially important for the backyard birds, where there may be shared feed sources, water sources, those sorts of things," said Kevin Hoffman, a public information officer with the Wisconsin DATCP.

Signs of infected birds may include lack of energy or appetite, decreased egg production, coughing, sneezing, inability to stand and trouble breathing, according to the DATCP.

"This is an ugly and devastating disease that we have seen not only affect Wisconsin, but more than 30 other states so far," Hoffman said. "So we want people to continue being diligent and keep an eye out on their flocks."

Hoffman said there are four registered locations in Wisconsin that have been impacted by avian flu in Barron, Jefferson, Racine and Rock counties.

Kellner said they're due to get a flock of chickens at the end of the month, but with the avian flu outbreaks in other parts of the state, isn't sure the delivery will happen on time.

“They can’t guarantee anything right now. We put them orders in a year in advance, but if them barns get hit in central Wisconsin, then we’re not going to be getting our replacement birds," Kellner said.

If that's the case, Kellner said they'll rely on their older birds to get through the summer.