Are backyard chickens just a transient phenomenon? Current craze? Foodies’ desire for fresh eggs? Baby boomers or young families wanting to get closer to nature?
Whatever the reason, we have been observing in recent years an increasing number of phone calls for backyard chickens. The most frequent comment from callers is: ‘I can’t find a veterinarian to look at my chickens!’. To poultry veterinarians, these birds, of unknown health status, do represent a biosecurity risk for commercial poultry yet they need proper care, diagnosis and treatment.
In order to help colleagues interested in backyard flocks and urban chickens, a network was created under the umbrella of the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture (RAIZO- basse-cour) with the support of a dynamic group of poultry veterinarians. Any veterinarian of the province with an interest in feathered species can join the group by contacting the ministry.
Twice a year, a webinar on a specific topic is given by a poultry veterinarian to interested veterinarians and allows for direct interaction.
An online discussion forum is also available to any participant who has a question on a case, a dosage… to which one or more members of the group can reply to. The Chair in Poultry Research has also been actively involved in giving training conferences to veterinarians on poultry physiology, husbandry, common diseases, as well as workshops on how to perform a clinical examination, take samples and anesthetize chickens. A few articles and videos have been published and are readily accessible to the veterinary community.
Source: 2018 AAAP Proceedings