DSU poultry specialist set for series of workshops

Delaware State University extension poultry specialist Dr. Brigid McCrea, right, who also conducts farm tours, will offer the latest information on avian influenza at a workshop Monday. (Submitted photo/Delaware State University)

Delaware State University extension poultry specialist Dr. Brigid McCrea, right, who also conducts farm tours, will offer the latest information on avian influenza at a workshop Monday. (Submitted photo/Delaware State University)

DOVER — A poultry specialist at Delaware State University hopes to dispel myths about raising chickens.

She’s planning to present a series of workshops throughout the state to provide information that poultry growers seek.

“I plan to go over general information,” Dr. Brigid McCrea said. “I want to go over some myths and explain why some are and aren’t true.

“People have to come with two questions, either something they’ve seen on the Internet or always wondered about. I will answer them all.”

Her presentation is titled “Keeping Chickens: What the Internet Is Not Telling You,” a two-hour workshop to be presented in all three counties.

The Kent County workshop will be held Monday at DSU from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In light of current problems facing the poultry industry — health challenges for flocks, higher costs and potential food safety issues for consumers — Dr. McCrea says she wants to help out.

One major concern is the avian influenza, or HPAI H5, which has killed more than 48 million chickens and turkeys in the United States.

Some agriculture experts fear the problem could get worse.

Although the virus hasn’t arrived Delaware yet, it poses a significant threat to the state’s poultry industry, officials said.

“I want them to have all the information they can,” Dr. McCrea said. “There are plenty of rumors about the virus and I want people to get proactive to get the right information, so they can know what they need to do just in case it happens to them.”

Avian influenza spreads bird-to-bird through saliva, feces and other bodily fluids.

Since December 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi flyways — the paths used by migratory birds.

The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks.

“I don’t want them to go to the workshop and think they’re going to kill my chickens,” Dr. McCrea said. “There is no reason for them to be taken away from you unless they are already dying from the disease. People think the state is going to get their flock.

“The workshop is meant to educate people and inform them on how to keep their stock healthy and if their stock are sick how to find the available tools that are available to them that will be helpful. No one needs to feel alone.”

Dr. McCrea hopes people come out and take advantage of the information that will be provided.

“There aren’t any workshops in the state doing this,” Dr. MCrea said. This is special. It’s my job to educate people.”

People still can attend Monday’s workshop but should call to register, (302) 857-6432

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