570,000 broiler chickens will be destroyed as bird flu hits Nebraska poultry farm | Local business news

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

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

Bird flu had previously been discovered in several wild geese and a mixed backyard flock in Merrick County, but its discovery on a commercial poultry farm raises the stakes.

The Department of Agriculture said the farm had been quarantined and all 570,000 birds would be destroyed. It has also 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.

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State veterinarian Roger Dudley said the farm has increased safety practices and stepped up observational testing. He self-quarantined after noticing higher than normal mortality among his herd and notified the department.

“Confirmation of HPAI at a second farm in Nebraska is unfortunate but not completely unexpected,” said agriculture manager Steve Wellman. “NDA will use all resources at our disposal, in coordination with our federal partners, to manage a rapid response.”

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

This outbreak led to the euthanasia of nearly 5 million laying hens on six farms in Dixon County. Nationwide, more than 50 million birds have been killed in what is believed to be the worst outbreak on record.

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

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

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