LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Due to an increase in bird flu cases being reported across the state, bird and waterfowl exhibitions have been halted.

Following heavy consultation with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland, MDARD Director Gary McDowell has stopped poultry and waterfowl exhibitions until the state goes 30 days without new bird flu cases being reported.

The decision is effective immediately.

The stop includes poultry and waterfowl shows, exhibitions, swap meets, petting zoos at fairs, and game bird/waterfowl fair displays.

The stop doesn’t include or affect egg hatching exhibits, pigeon races, or zoos.

According to MDARD, HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.

In 2022, there have been 12 cases of HPAI in backyard flocks across nine different counties in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

MDARD is committed to protecting the health of all Michigan’s domestic birds. Preventative measures are the best and only tools we have to limit the negative impact of HPAI. By exercising this necessary precaution, we can wait for the warmer, drier weather needed to kill the virus without creating conditions that could worsen the problem. By taking this step now, it is hoped that poultry exhibitors can still participate in fair activities once circumstances have improved.”

Dr. Nora Wineland

MDARD recommends the following to protect Michigan’s domestic birds:

  • Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling birds as well as when moving between different coops.
  • Disinfecting boots and other gear when moving between coops.
  • Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting equipment and other supplies between uses. If it cannot be disinfected, discard it.
  • Using well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
  • Keep poultry feed secure to ensure there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.

To report a case of the bird flu, call MDARD as soon as possible at (800) 292-3939 (daytime) or (517) 373-0440 (nighttime).