We've all heard that the bird flu is a major problem this year, but we're really starting to see the effects of the outbreak this summer.

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First, we were warned not to feed the birds or fill our bird feeders, then there was the issue of rapidly rising egg prices, and now we're seeing birds disappear from several of our favorite attractions this summer.

Where Are All the Birds?

Last month I chaperoned my daughter's field trip to Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin and we were all disappointed to learn that we couldn't visit any of the zoo's birds because they had been removed from display due to the safety concerns of bird flu. Although I totally understand the need for this precaution, it was still some bummer news.

IDOA Says No More Poultry Shows in 2022

Back in April, the Illinois Department of Agriculture implemented emergency rules "prohibiting the sale or exhibiting of poultry and poultry products at swap meets, exhibitions, flea markets, and auction markets in Illinois to prevent the spread of avian influenza." To put that in simpler words, there will be no poultry displays, shows, or sales at any Illinois county fairs this summer.

Photo by Henrique S. Ruzzon on Unsplash
Photo by Henrique S. Ruzzon on Unsplash
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Upon reading that IDOA decision, I reached out to a friend of mine who typically shows poultry at the Boone County Fair each year. Obviously, he is bummed by the news, but he feels especially bad for all the 4-H kids who have worked so hard all year long. He said;

So Boone County Fair canceled Open and Jr but had in mind that U of I would still let 4-H show. Yesterday we got emails they are not having any birds in the state be shown in Illinois. Illinois also put a ban on all shows and swaps till September. Both are worried of spreading bird flu. I feel they don’t want to be responsible for a spread but also the destruction of many flocks at home if positive case popped up during show.

County fairs in Illinois may look different this summer without poultry displays, but I do agree that it is always best to air on the side of caution.

When I asked my friend what happens now for all the hard-working, poultry-loving 4-H kids, he said;

They are working on a virtual show like they did in 2020. I am sure it will happen but no details yet.

Virtual is better than nothing I guess.

To all you crazy chickens and roosters I say, we can't wait to see you at the fair again in 2023...stay healthy! (Fingers crossed!)

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