Bird flu strikes southwest Iowa facility with 1.2 million chickens

By: - November 12, 2023 11:15 am

Iowa is the top egg-producing state in the country, and its flocks can exceed one million chickens. (Getty Images)

About 1.2 million egg-laying hens in Taylor County, Iowa, will be culled because a highly transmissible avian flu was detected in their flock, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

The detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the southwest Iowa chicken facility, along with another recent detection in a backyard flock of 23 birds in Jones County, mark a total of 11 confirmations of the virus in Iowa this fall in domestic flocks.

The Taylor County infection is the first massive flock to be affected this fall. The previous nine detections involved flocks that totaled about 170,000 birds.

The virus is most prevalent in Iowa during the spring and fall bird migrations. Infected wild birds are believed to be the primary transmitters of the virus to domestic flocks. It is highly contagious and often deadly to the birds, and whole flocks are destroyed to prevent its spread.

The previous detections this fall in Iowa were:

Nov. 7: A game bird farm in Kossuth County with about 8,576 pheasants, peafowl and chickens.
— Nov. 3: A commercial chicken breeding facility in Hamilton County with about 15,000 birds.
— Nov. 3: A duck farm with a backyard mixed species flock in Clay County with about 7,361 birds.
— Nov. 3: A duck farm in Clay County with about 8,270 birds.
— Nov. 3: A duck farm in Clay County with about 1,700 birds.
— Oct. 31: A commercial turkey flock in Buena Vista County with about 30,000 birds.
— Oct. 23: A commercial turkey flock in Pocahontas County with about 47,500 birds.
— Oct. 23: A backyard flock in Guthrie County with about 50 birds.
— Oct. 20: A commercial turkey flock in Buena Vista County with about 50,000 birds.

This article first appeared in the Iowa Capital Dispatch, a sister site of the Nebraska Examiner in the States Newsroom network.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register. His investigative work exposing police misconduct has notched several state and national awards. He is a longtime trustee of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, which fights for open records and open government. He is a lifelong Iowan and has lived mostly in rural western parts of the state.