Avian Influenza and Ducks In The Yard

Spring is here and some of you will have these traditional annual visitors to your backyard, they often don't stay long but they do show up, migratory ducks. The most common reported waterfowl is the Mallard Duck.

Ducks are usually a fun added species to your backyard but this year that is not the case. Waterfowl can be carriers of the current strain of Avian Influenza (H5N1) without showing symptoms. They can spread the disease through their droppings, especially in water they frequent.

Environment Canada says, “The use of bird feeders is unlikely to spread highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, and the risk of an outbreak in wild bird species that frequent feeders is considered low. However, feeders should be removed from areas that are open to poultry and other domestic animals.”

It also important to keep yourself and your family safe. As with any bird or animal, wild or domestic, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions after direct or indirect contact. Be careful around animal droppings or water used by birds and animals; wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact.

We recommend the following actions if your ducks arrive this year:

  1. Without causing harm encourage the ducks to leave your yard, this may require frequent attempts.
  2. Temporarily remove bird feeders.
  3. Empty all water features.
  4. Do not put food out for the ducks - corn, pellets etc.
  5. Once the ducks have left, wear a mask and gloves and try to locate and remove any droppings.
  6. As per 311 Toronto "Put the droppings in a plastic or kraft paper bag and put the bag into your outdoor Green Bin."
  7. Environment Canada recommends disinfecting with a “solution of 25 millilitres of household bleach (sodium hypochlorite, 5%-6%) and 2 litres of water; let stand until the surface is dry”
  8. Empty and disinfect any water containers
  9. If you decide to let the ducks remain in your yard until they leave on their own please do so with caution and follow all the above actions after point number one.

Bird feeders should not be put out again until bird feeding products, bird baths and the area is thoroughly disinfected.

Avian Influenza Updates

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