Bird flu decimates Ritewood egg farm in Cache Valley, Zootah in quarantine – Cache Valley Daily

A sign by the door informs visitors that Zootah will be in quarantine on Friday, April 29, 2022 after a case of bird flu was diagnosed at the Logan Zoo. Photo by Will Feelright.

LEWISTON — Ritewood Inc. in Lewiston was decimated by bird flu on Friday, April 22, 2022. The virus has caused one of Utah’s largest egg producers to depopulate more than 1.4 million laying hens.

There is currently no way to estimate the total value of the loss.

The facility will need to be decontaminated after the birds are gone, it will take an estimated two years to get the operation where it was before this happened.

Ritewood Inc. and sister company Oakdell Egg Farms in Franklin use the strictest biosecurity measures available.

Zootah. Photo by Will Feelright

Currently, during the migration of ducks and geese to Cache Valley, it is difficult to keep it away from poultry farms along the waterways.

The egg company has been working on outdoor facilities for their chickens, as mandated by the Utah state legislature to keep chickens in a cageless environment.

Another case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was confirmed Thursday in Cache County at the Zootah facility in Logan by Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) officials.

The owners of Zootah immediately notified our office of the infected birdsaid Utah State Vet, Dr. Dean Taylor. “They have been working closely with our office on their response plan and implementing appropriate quarantine measures at their zoo.”

Zootah is under a state-ordered quarantine and is currently closed.

Because the affected birds are considered captive animals and not poultry, some of which are endangered species, UDAF officials are working with zoo owners to prevent depopulation of these birds.

Zootah at Willow Park in Logan. Photo by Will Feelright.

Bird owners in Cache Valley are encouraged to remain vigilant in monitoring their birds for symptoms and ensuring they follow good biosafety practices. Symptoms include high flock mortality, runny nose, loss of appetite or water consumption, and lack of coordination in birds. If birds experience any of these symptoms, contact the state veterinarian’s office immediately at [email protected] Early notification and action will help contain the disease.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recent HPAI detections do not pose an immediate public health problem. One case of this strain of HPAI has been detected in Colorado. As a reminder, proper handling and cooking of all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F is recommended as a general food safety precaution.

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