Small Flock Poultry

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This page contains useful resources and information on best husbandry practices, regulations and disease prevention tips for backyard and urban chicken owners.


Since May 18, the United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed several cases of virulent Newcastle Disease (Exotic Newcastle Disease) in backyard exhibition chickens in San Bernardino and Los Angeles, California.

Newcastle disease is a highly contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of wild birds and poultry. Signs of disease include: sneezing, gasping, depression, muscular tremors, paralysis, drop in egg production, and greenish watery diarrhea. The disease is so lethal that many birds may die without showing any clinical signs.

Newcastle Disease is a provincially and federally reportable disease. While it has never been reported in domestic poultry in Canada, a small number of cases of Newcastle disease have been detected in Canada’s wild bird population. To report unusual mortality or disease in your flock contact your private veterinarian or the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian 780-427-3448 (dial 310-0000 for toll free in Alberta).

Biosecurity is the best way to protect your flock against diseases like Newcastle Disease and Avian Influenza. Remember to:
- Restrict visitor access to your bird areas and avoid entering other people’s bird areas.
- Wash hands and scrub boots before and after entering a bird area.
- Clean and disinfect tools and equipment that come in contact with your birds or their droppings.
- Quarantine any birds returning from shows for 30 days before reintroducing them to your flock.

Planning on having a chicken flock?

Whether you are a new or experienced poultry owner, these resources contain valuable information on regulations, coop setting, safe handling and more.

Already have a chicken flock?

You want to provide the best care for your chickens. These resources include tools and tips for best husbandry practices.

Concerned about your flock’s health?

Some poultry diseases can have a devastating impact. These resources include information on diseases, their prevention and veterinary care.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ana Ulmer-Franco.
This document is maintained by Anamika Sharma.
This information published to the web on September 10, 2015.
Last Reviewed/Revised on July 4, 2018.