Do you or someone you know have chickens in the backyard?

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There are about 240 chicken farms in Connecticut and about five million chickens. About 4.7 million of those chickens are at a few big commercial poultry operations. But it is estimated that there are thousands in backyards all across the state and that’s why the state is putting out the word that they want people to register them with the state for two important reasons. “A, we can communicate with them and B, we know where the birds are should we have a confirmed case of ‘Hi Path A-I,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky.

‘Hi Path A-I’ is short for ‘Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.’ It’s a highly contagious bird flu. In the west and mid-western part of the country, there was a major outbreak in June that forced the destruction of 48 million chickens. There were no human cases in this latest outbreak, but it has happened in other parts of the world. And now, with wild birds migrating south, it is feared they could spread the virus to these backyard flocks.

So, the state wants to know where they all are so if there is a confirmed case they can quickly have the flock destroyed and implement a quarantine. “Based on our response plan we would have quarantine areas and then concentric rings that spread out from that,” said Reviczky.

Dr. Matt Cartter is the state epidemiologist and says there could be danger to the people that have backyard chickens, “This would involve somebody who’se in close contact with either sick or dying birds.”

Poultry owners may register their flocks with the state by going to the Department of Agriculture website.

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