Proper siting of new poultry facilities are extremely important. Problems can arise when these facilities are built in unfavourable locations. The best time to handle potential problems is BEFOREthey occur. Considerable thought to the location of farm structures by farmers must be one of the most important concerns in poultry farming.

Poultry farmers must be aware of issues related to environment such as: topography of land, nature of roads, wind conditions, existing and developing structures (e.g., public places such as churches, schools, businesses) and people already living in the area. These factors are further explained below.


The nature of the land determines the amount of work to be done to get the place levelled for building the poultry houses. Land grading can substantially increase construction cost. Hence, avoid near streams and low-lying areas because of flooding potential. Preferably, situate the long axis of the poultry houses in the east-west direction as this helps to minimize the amount of direct sunlight that enters through the sidewalls of the houses. 


Questions regarding readily available source of electrical power to the proposed area must be considered. Is electricity available in the area or can new utility lines be constructed at a reasonable cost? Is water available either from wells or a municipal water system? More importantly, have a backup water system and the quality of available water must be suitable for operating a poultry farm


The condition of roads must be adequate to allow feed trucks, chick-delivery vehicles, and live-haul trucks access to the buildings during all times of the year.  Are there any weight limits or bridges that would restrict access to the farm? How much will it cost to construct an access road from the public road to the buildings? Can the heavily loaded trucks travel easily on the access road in all types of weather? These are some important questions that need to be answered.


One most important consideration when evaluating potential locations for poultry facilities is neighbours in the environment. Good neighbours can quickly become enemies. Reactions from neighbours may force alternate sites to be chosen. Availability of labour is very important especially in situations of halted operations and labor strikes


One must also consider the possibility of future expansion of the farm. Does the potential building site allow the possibility for further expansion? Often a poultry farmer will start with two houses and will want to build additional houses later.


The building site needs to have adequate land area available for other buildings such as administration block, sick bays, feed storage room, drug storage room, dead-bird composting and litter storage. These buildings should be out of public view if possible. The buildings need to be located close enough to the production facilities to minimize travel time but far enough away to reduce possible disease transmission. A distance of about 100 feet is a reasonable compromise.


The distance required by law between the edge of a building and the property line must be considered. How far poultry houses should be sited from residential areas, public sites such as: roads, streams, wells, sinkholes and floodplains, toxic product producing companies and nearby poultry and pig farms should all be determined before siting your poultry farm. Below is a table of suggested distance limits that will help to minimize problems with odour, dust, feathers, noise, and water quality which are all essential for the success of a poultry farm

FacilityRecommended distance from farm
Residences other than poultry farm owner 500 ft 
Streams and Private wells  100 ft 
Property lines  100 ft 
Schools, churches, parks,  and other public areas  1500 ft 
Public roadways  150 ft 
Public wells 500 ft 
Flood plains, sinkholes, wetlands  100 ft 

Frederick Adarkwah

#VetCall Services

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PSITTACOSIS 1557 1603 Ekua Esuon Thompson

It is a highly contagious disease, with a mortality rate of about 50% among birds.  Several species of birds (over 465 species) can be affected by this disease, however, birds of the Parrot family or Psittacines are the most affected, hence the name psittacosis. It is also referred to as Parrot Fever.Turkeys and ducks are more susceptible to this disease compared to chickens. This is also a zoonotic disease; this means that humans are at risk of contracting this disease.

Psittacosis is caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia psittaci. There are several subtypes (strains) of Chlamydia psittaci. Some of these strains are known to cause severe infections in humans. Healthy birds or humans can get infected through inhalation or via a  faecal-oral route from infected birds (they could be sick/ diseased birds or carriers; they do not show signs of the disease but can spread the bacterium). Other sources of infection include contact with infected arthropods and contaminated environment (feed, water, toys, perch). Mother to chicks (vertical transmission) transmission is possible.

Clinical Signs include: weight loss, swollen and watery eyes, ocular and nasal discharges, ruffled feathers, yellowish or green droppings, breathlessness. Therapy is based on laboratory findings and presenting clinical signs. Treatment can last from about two weeks to a month. Birds who recover remain carriers of the bacterium and can potentially spread to other birds in the future.

It is important to protect yourself when handling a bird infected with psittacosis. Put on protective gear, mask and gloves when cleaning their cages and it is recommended to disinfect or wash your hands and clothing afterwards. All new birds (pets or poultry) should be quarantined, for a minimum of 14 days to check for possible clinical signs of this important disease.

Bird Flu

Bird Flu 500 500 Frederick Adarkwah

What is bird flu?

Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds.

H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. According to the World Health OrganizationTrusted Source, H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997 and has killed nearly 60 percentTrusted Source of those infected.

Currently, the virus isn’t known to spread via human-to-human contact. Still, some experts worry that H5N1 may pose a risk of becoming a pandemic threat to humans.

What are the symptoms of bird flu?

You may have an H5N1 infection if you experience typical flu-like symptoms such as:

  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • respiratory difficulties
  • fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C)
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • malaise
  • runny nose
  • sore throat

If you’re exposed to bird flu, you should notify staff before you arrive at the doctor’s office or hospital. Alerting them ahead of time will allow them to take precautions to protect staff and other patients before caring for you.

What causes bird flu?

Although there are several types of bird flu, H5N1 was the first avian influenza virus to infect humans. The first infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. The outbreak was linked to handling infected poultry.

H5N1 occurs naturally in wild waterfowl, but it can spread easily to domestic poultry. The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes.

Consuming properly cooked poultry or eggs from infected birds doesn’t transmit the bird flu, but eggs should never be served runny. Meat is considered safe if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF (73.9ºC).

What are bird flu risk factors?

H5N1 has the ability to survive for extended periods of time. Birds infected with H5N1 continue to release the virus in feces and saliva for as long as 10 days. Touching contaminated surfaces can spread the infection.

You may have a greater risk of contracting H5N1 if you are:

  • a poultry farmer
  • a traveler visiting affected areas
  • exposed to infected birds
  • someone who eats undercooked poultry or eggs
  • a healthcare worker caring for infected patients
  • a household member of an infected person


How is bird flu diagnosed?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source has approved a test designed to identify avian influenza. The test is called influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) virus real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set. It can offer preliminary results in only four hours. However, the test isn’t widely available.

Your doctor may also perform the following tests to look for the presence of the virus that causes bird flu:

Additional tests can be done to assess the functioning of your heart, kidneys, and liver.

What’s the treatment for bird flu?

Different types of bird flu can cause different symptoms. As a result, treatments may vary.

In most cases, treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) can help reduce the severity of the disease. However, the medication must be taken within 48 hours after symptoms first appear.

The virus that causes the human form of the flu can develop resistance to the two most common forms of antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine). These medications shouldn’t be used to treat the disease.

Your family or others in close contact with you might also be prescribed antivirals as a preventive measure, even if they aren’t sick. You’ll be placed in isolation to avoid spreading the virus to others.

Your doctor may place you on a breathing machine if you develop a severe infection.

What’s the outlook for someone with bird flu?

The outlook for bird flu infection depends on the severity of infection and the type of influenza virus causing it. H5N1 has a high mortality rate, while other types don’t.

Some potential complications include:

  • sepsis (a possibly fatal inflammatory response to bacteria and other germs)
  • pneumonia
  • organ failure
  • acute respiratory distress

Call your doctor if you have flu symptoms within 10 days of handling birds or traveling to areas with a known avian flu outbreak.

How is bird flu prevented?

Your doctor may recommend you get a flu shot so that you don’t also get a human strain of influenza. If you develop both the avian flu and human flu at the same time, it could create a new and possibly deadly form of the flu.

The CDC has issued no recommendations against traveling to countries that are affected by H5N1. However, you can minimize your risk by avoiding:

  • open-air markets
  • contact with infected birds
  • undercooked poultry

Be sure to practice good hygiene and wash your hands regularly.

The FDA has approved a vaccine designed to protect against the avian flu, but the vaccine isn’t currently available to the public. Experts recommend that the vaccine be used if H5N1 begins to spread among people.

Read this article in Spanish.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the flu »

Last medically reviewed on April 14, 2017

How we reviewed this article:



Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Sep 29, 2018

Written By

Bree Normandin

Edited By

Stella Miranda

Apr 14, 2017

Medically Reviewed By

Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI