SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — A strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected near Kentucky’s border in Tennessee. To protect all domestic poultry in the state, Tennessee prohibited events like shows, exhibitions and livestock sales for the time being.
Animal health officials have even established a surveillance zone surrounding the site (a backyard flock in Obion County); a portion of the zone includes Kentucky.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has coordinated the bird flu response, encouraging owners of backyard and commercial poultry flocks to closely observe domesticated birds and report a sudden increase in the number of sick birds or bird deaths, prevent contact with wild birds, practice good biosecurity with your poultry, enroll in the National Poultry Improvement Plan, the Secure Broiler Supply Plan and the Secure Egg Supply Plan.
Defending the flock is something Hogg’s Heaven Farm owner Angela Hogg makes sure she’s doing consistently.
“It could come from us. It could come from our dogs. You just have to keep them pure, try to keep them healthy,” Hogg said.
Hogg was introduced on Spectrum News back in May when more shoppers were buying and raising chickens to avoid rising egg prices.
The recent news of the avian influenza can be frightening for any bird owner and that's why Hogg continues to find ways to protect her birds.
“Our plan upcoming is to build smaller areas that are more directly side to side and that will not only allow us to collect eggs faster but allow us to clean their pens faster and more efficiently and more often.”
While still maintaining old habits like keeping food sealed in containers, cleaning pens and shoes after being out on the farm and installing aerial netting around the pens to keep predators out.
“Our barrels are all connected, through a piping system and garden hoses,” Hogg said. “That way If we do see anything that shows signs of any infection, then we are able to treat our water in one location and then it will be filtered out to our entire farm to all of our birds.
Hogg can’t do it all by herself, that’s when her two guard dogs Apollo and Athena come in.
“We haven't lost a single bird to a predator since we brought them to the farm and we have found at least 6 to 8 raccoons laying in pens from where they protected a pen through the night,” Hogg said.
It's a statistic she hopes will continue for the future of Hogg’s Heaven Farm.