Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Iowa egg farm with 5.3 hens hit by avian flu

An Iowa farm will have to euthanize the survivors of an avian influenza outbreak in a flock of 5.3 million hens.

It’s by far the biggest flock among the dozens across the United States that have been hit by the H5N2 strain of avian influenza.

The farm in Osceala County has 10 per cent of Iowa’s egg layers and about one per cent of the national total.

Egg industry marketing experts say it's too early to predict the impact on prices, but say it's unlikely to immediately cause a spike or a shortage, because number of chickens that are to be euthanized is a little more than 1 percent of the nation's egg layers.

"Don't panic. Let's wait and see," said poultry industry consultant Simon Shane, who also teaches poultry science and veterinary medicine at North Carolina State University. He added that if 20 million to 30 birds are taken out, that would influence prices.