Avian Influenza

Avian flu no threat to Delaware poultry yet

DOVER — Even though no avian influenza has been reported in Delmarva or even on the East Coast, Delaware is taking no chances.

Since December 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi flyways — the paths used by migratory birds. The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people to be low and no human cases of these HPAI H5 viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada or internationally.

Bill Satterfield, executive director of the Delmarva Poultry Industry, said in an email last week the Delaware Department of Agriculture, the 1,600 Delmarva families who raise chickens and all the poultry-related industries are concerned about the possibility of avian influenza viruses reaching the peninsula.

“We are not in a panic mode,” he said, “but are working to make sure the virus is kept away from our commercial chickens and to be prepared in case it is discovered.”

Delmarva’s chicken industry is geared toward producing meat, not eggs, he said. Delaware is ranked 10th among the states in the pounds of meat chickens produced in 2013. More than 1.5 billion pounds were produced.

Poultry and related industries contributed $3.2 billion to the Delaware economy in 2011, according to the University of Delaware.

Mr. Satterfield said efforts continue to improve biosecurity, update prevention and response plans and ensure resources are in place to deal with the potentially devastating disease.

“The three diagnostic laboratories for Delmarva are gearing up in case there are suspicious or confirmed cases of avian influenza,” he said.

Planning exercises also are in the works.

On Monday, the Delaware Department of Agriculture announced it is prohibiting waterfowl entries in the poultry competitions at the Delaware State Fair, July 23-Aug. 1 in Harrington, in order to protect against avian influenza.
Ducks and geese won’t be exhibited. Exhibitions of chickens, quail, pheasants, turkeys and other birds will take place, but all birds will be tested for avian influenza by the Department of Agriculture personnel before the fair begins.

“This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution to guard against the spread of avian influenza,” said Delaware state veterinarian Dr. Heather Hirst.

Since many species of wild waterfowl can carry and shed influenza virus in feces without showing any signs of illness, Dr. Hirst said it is important to keep domestic birds separated from wild waterfowl and to keep domestic birds off waterways where wild waterbirds live.

Avian influenza spreads bird-to-bird through saliva, feces and other bodily fluids.

Biosecurity measures recommended by the department include isolating birds from visitors and other birds; keeping shoes, tools, equipment, vehicles and cages clean when entering areas where birds live; avoiding tracking wild waterfowl feces into domestic bird living areas; avoiding sharing equipment and tools with neighbors; watching for warning signs of disease; and reporting sick or dead birds.

Sick or dead domestic birds, including backyard flocks and commercial poultry, should be reported to the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section, (302) 698-4500 or (800) 282-8685.

To report groups of dead or sick waterfowl, shorebirds or gulls, contact the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Wildlife Section-Wildlife Disease Program at (302) 735-3600.

For more information on avian influenza, visit de.gov/birdflu.


Cattle Tail Docking

Del. FB speaks up on HSUS tail docking bill

Radical animal rights group backed bill to criminalize farming technique

DOVER, Del. — H.B.189 Dairy Cattle Tail Docking legislation was pre-filed on June 16 at 12:25 p.m. and assigned to the Judiciary Committee. Within 24 hours the bill was placed on the committee agenda to be considered on June 17 at 1 p.m.

The main sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Andria Bennett, D-District 32, was asked by chairman, Representative Mitchell, if a constituent asked her to introduce the legislation. She said no, she considered it an animal welfare issue. Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee opposed the legislation and asked a lobbyist testifying in support of the bill who she was representing and she replied the Humane Society. Kee asked her to clarify, was it the Delaware Humane Society and she finally admitted she represents HSUS.

DFB Executive Director, Pamela Bakerian also testified opposing the legislation and asked the committee to table the bill. The following letter was distributed to the committee members as well as this document titled “Why So Many Farmers Dock Tails.”

On May 6, two dairy farmers visited the House Chamber to celebrate HCR Proclaiming June 2015 “Delaware Dairy Month.” Ice cream was served in the chamber celebrating the importance of dairy farms and creameries in Delaware.

Imagine how shocked the farm community was to learn H.B. 189 was introduced on June 16 and placed in committee on June 17 creating “Tail Docking” a class A misdemeanor. A farmer could be sentenced up to 1 year incarceration at level V and a fined $2,300.

Although the bill was tabled, HSUS will aggressively pursue the passage of this legislation. Delaware Farm Bureau will also aggressively oppose this legislation and expose the truth — HSUS is a huge lobbying organization with a mission to abolish animal agriculture and eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from the dinner table.

Additionally, HSUS is a radical animal rights organization that is NOT affiliated with local animal shelters. It uses it’s more than $100 million budget to threaten America’s hardworking farmers and ranchers.

Please call you state Senator and Representative NOW and tell them how outraged you are about this bill. This is HSUS’s third attempt to introduce legislation to eliminate an agricultural practice. The first attempt was to increase the size of layer cages, the second was eliminating farrowing crates and now they are attempting to criminalize tail docking.

Delaware Farm Bureau is the largest farm organization in the state — the Voice of Agriculture. Please let your voice be heard.

Delaware Farm Bureau

USDA Lamb and Goat Price Report

Here is a message that I received from another small ruminant extension person out in Minnesota.

The USDA-AMS has started to release a Grass-Fed Lamb & Goat price report every month, the first one this past May 13.  It can be found at:



The following link is a blog about its release:




The North Carolina Department of Agriculture will also issue a pastured lamb report. Here is the url for the first one: http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/ra_lo102.txt


Veterinary Feed Directive Webinar

Free Consumer Behavior Webcast
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The new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) marks a major change for the livestock industry. Veterinarians will soon have increased responsibility for prescribing antimicrobials in feed and water — and the roles for producers, nutritionists and feed suppliers also will change.

Led by several industry experts and brought to you by Zoetis, this interactive webinar will examine the VFD regulation, including roles and responsibilities, timing and requirements. Do you have questions about the VFD? You’ll have the opportunity to ask the experts after the presentation.

Who should attend:

  1. Livestock producers who incorporate medicated feed ingredients into complete feeds, minerals and/or supplements
  2. Veterinarians who help livestock clients manage disease through use of antimicrobials
  3. Nutritionists who help livestock clients formulate and balance rations
  4. Feed suppliers who manufacture complete feeds, minerals and/or supplements for livestock producers

What you will learn:

  1. Understanding the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)
  2. VFD implementation requirements and roles
  3. VFD timeline
  4. Q&A with industry experts

Click Here to Register today.

Sponsored by:


Paul Ruen
Partner, Fairmont Veterinary Clinic, LLP

John Hallberg
PhD, DVM Director
US Regulatory Affairs

Moderated by:

John Maday
Editor | Bovine Veterinarian

June is Dairy Month

Why You Should Celebrate Dairy Month with a Tall Glass of Milk
As we head into summer, it is important to stay hydrated. We all know water is great for this, but did you know one of the healthiest beverages to quench that incurable thirst is milk? In 1937, the National Dairy Council declared June as National Dairy Month. With an overall decline in per capita milk consumption in the United States, it’s time to support your own health as well as our dairy industry. But what makes milk such a healthy drink?
Milk is composed of approximately 87% water and 13% solids. With the high level of nutrients relative to the calories in a glass of milk, it is a nutrient dense beverage. The solids comprise of roughly 3.7% fat, which include the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. The 9.9% solids-not-fat portion contains proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. Milk provides a high level of nutrients such as calcium, which is essential to bone health. The fat in whole milk is also very important for early brain development in children. Many people shy away from whole milk because they assume it is high in fat and therefore, less healthy than 2% milk. However, the definition of whole milk is milk containing not less than 3.25% fat. That is only 1.25% more fat than 2% milk.
The majority of the milk consumed in the United States comes from dairy cows. In order for a cow to produce milk, she has to have a calf. Most dairy heifers produce a calf at two years of age and enter the milking world. Generally, cows are milked twice a day. However, some high producing farms will milk three times a day. The milk is held in a refrigerated tank at 38˚ Fahrenheit and held no longer than 48 hours before being transported to the processing plant. The milk will go through strenuous laboratory testing prior to entering the processing plant. The tests are analyzed to determine the fat and protein levels along with an examination to ensure they are free of antibiotics. Farmers are paid on the quality of milk, so it is important for them to properly collect and store the milk prior to shipment.
The state of Delaware is home to approximately 5000 dairy cows on less than 50 dairy farms. The average cow produces roughly 19,000 pounds of milk during a lactation, which translates to 2210 gallons of milk a year. Milk production for the state is nearly 90 million pounds a year or 10.5 million gallons of milk. A dairy farmer works 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because cows have to be milked every day. This job comes with little or no time off, 15-hour workdays and no snow days. So, on those hot summer afternoons, please remember and celebrate our hard working dairy farmers by drinking a tall cold glass of milk. Not only is it delicious, it’s good for you!