Gassing a backyard flock

The outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease in California continues to spread after several months of  depopulation of both backyard and commercial flocks.

 The state agency CDFA is in charge and cooperating with USDA, going door to door documenting backyard flocks, giving notices of kill orders, and threatening people with finds, criminal charges, and arrest if the owners don’t consent to a kill order.  Such tactics are fare easier than obtaining search warrants for every home with poultry or even pet birds like parakeets.   

Either consent or a warrant is required to search a property and kill the birds, thanks to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution.   Law enforcement must be present for a search warrant to be served and only the areas listed can be searched and only for the items listed in the warrant. While CDFA might have a few peace officers on staff they will be relying upon CHP, the local sheriff’s office, and local police officers for serving the warrants.  There is no charge for serving a warrant, just a charge for the party asking for the warrant, it being filed and delivered by a police officer.

 The birds are disposed of after gassing with CO2, bagged in regular plastic bags and dumped at a landfill.  The bags will of course puncture and rip even before they are ran over by the bull dozer at the landfill.  The thousands of seagulls will eat what is left so any disease is transferred to the seagulls.


 The “official” cause of the spread of the disease is clothing and vehicle tires of poultry plant workers after they visited cock fighting clubs or handled the birds.  If that were the case only places these people had visited would be at risk of depopulation.  Instead of focusing on where these workers had been


Gassing a backyard flock

 The officials are depopulating all birds of any kind withing a three mile radius of each diseased bird found.  The reason for the 3 mile radius is that is the normal range of wild birds and rats.  In other words, the authorities are admitting that the wild vermin are spreading the disease but don’t want to so that publicaly.  

The bio security is lax.  The workers were quickly hired by the hundreds and poorly trained or poorly supervised.  They wear the same white coveralls all day while going house to house and as you can see in the picture, no masks for the workers.

If there was no disease found, and so far at all of the backyard flocks found and killed no sick birds have shown up, then these workers will be spreading the disease all over the state as they search and destroy.

 This makes it all the more important that you implement some sort of bio hazard program even for the smallest backyard flock.

 It also drives home the value of a good treadle feeder that allows training without blocking the feed tray open.  Will the authorities kill your flock whether or not you have a treadle feeder?  Yes, they seem to favor mass extinction in all hot spot areas, but if more people are responsible and store their feed away from wild birds, squirrels, and rats, the number of cases would go down and the virus would wipe itself out.

 We have reviews of most of the popular brands of chicken feeder here on this very website.



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