Winds Sicken Chickens

A recent study of chicken farms in the West found that high winds increased the prevalence in outdoor flocks, of a bacterial pathogen in poultry that is the largest single cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. Researchers found that about 26% of individual chickens had the pathogen at the “open environment” farms in the study, which included organic and free-range chicken farms. High winds the week prior to sampling and the farms’ location in more intensive agricultural settings were linked to a greater prevalence of of the pathogen. To help reduce it, researchers suggested farmers consider installing windbreaks and watch weather patterns, so they can bring chickens inside during periods of high winds. Being outside also means that chickens are exposed to disease from wild birds and simply from contact with the ground, where they can pick up pathogens spread by feces of other infected birds.