570,000 broiler chickens to be destroyed as bird flu hits Nebraska poultry farm | Local Business News - petsitterbank

570,000 broiler chickens to be destroyed as bird flu hits Nebraska poultry farm | Local Business News

Nebraska has confirmed its first case of the bird flu in a commercial flock of chickens.

The state Department of Agriculture said the highly contagious disease has been found in a flock of 570,000 broiler chickens in Butler County.

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Bird flu had previously been found in several wild geese and a mixed backyard flock in Merrick County, but its discovery in a commercial poultry operation ups the stakes.

The Agriculture Department said the farm has been quarantined and all 570,000 birds will be destroyed. It also has set up a 6.2-mile control zone around the farm, and poultry producers within that radius will not be allowed to move poultry products on or off their premises without permission from the department.

State Veterinarian Roger Dudley said the farm had increased its safety practices and heightened observational testing. It quarantined itself after noticing higher-than-normal mortality among its flock and notified the department.

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“Having a second farm in Nebraska confirmed to have HPAI is unfortunate but not completely unexpected,” said Agriculture Director Steve Wellman. “NDA will use all the resources at our disposal, in coordination with our federal partners, to manage a quick response.”

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Bird flu so far has infected nearly 15 million birds in the US, the worst outbreak since 2015.

That outbreak led to nearly 5 million laying hens being euthanized at six farms in Dixon County. Nationwide, more than 50 million birds were killed in what is considered the worst outbreak on record.

An outbreak now could be even more devastating in Nebraska, as the state has since added dozens of operations that raise millions of broiler chickens for the Costco processing plant in Fremont.

This is a developing story. Stay with JournalStar.com for updates.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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