LITTLE ROCK – During the last four weeks, waterfowl have been reported dead at seven localized areas in northeast and east central Arkansas. Four of these incidents included white-fronted geese (specklebellies) and a small number of dabbling ducks. Three other incidents have included mostly snow geese. Tests are still pending for some birds found dead, but test results from the first case indicated those birds died from avian cholera.

Dr. Jennifer Ballard, state wildlife veterinarian for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says the birds all showed signs of the disease, but confirmatory testing was needed to be certain of the cause.”

“Avian cholera is very common in waterfowl,” Ballard said. “Snow and Ross’s geese have been reported to act as silent carriers of the bacteria that causes it.”

According to Ballard, carriers can shed the bacteria into the environment, where it can wait in the water for weeks. In many cases, birds can die in a matter of hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

“Avian cholera isn’t new to Arkansas,” Ballard said. “The most recent large-scale event on record was in 2008, when close to 1,000 snow geese were found dead.”

The disease is not expected to have any population-level effects, but it can cause high rates of death in small areas, particularly when waterfowl densities are high. This year’s widespread drought conditions may be a contributing factor in the most recent occurrences, concentrating geese in small areas with surface water.

The bacteria causing avian cholera can infect a wide range of species, including birds and mammals. It can infect humans but is not the same bacteria associated with human cholera that plagues many developing countries. Domestic livestock, such as chickens, also are susceptible to avian cholera.

The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission and AGFC are coordinating on the issue. Arkansas State Veterinarian Dr. Brandon Doss considers the occurrence of avian cholera in wild ducks and geese to pose a minimal risk to the state’s poultry industry. However, poultry producers are encouraged to maintain good biosecurity measures at their facilities at all times to prevent disease transmissions to and from wild birds.

The AGFC recommends any hunters who find animals that are dead, appear sick or behave abnormally to contact the AGFC. Never consume any animal you know to be sick. Also be sure to wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly if you handle sick ducks or geese.


Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

Join NAGA President Peg Ballou for this important broadcast on ways to discourage waterfowl and other birds from congregating on your farm or club. Your participation is requested with ideas on products, procedures and plans to share with other industry members. ... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Websites that hold this kind of product are not endorsed or necessarily recommended, but the content is here to help you find products that may help deter nondesired birds from remaining around your area. Birdsbgone Laserbird Wildgoosechase Birdbarrier Agrilaser.

Additionally, I mentioned spikes on your posts, owl or swan decoys to deter birds congregating around pens. The swan decoys float in the pond and the incoming ducks and geese stay away. Apparently Swans don't play well with others. Huh, who knew?

And a better one of the metal spinner.

This is the tape I mentioned. Kinda like a mylar bag sliced into strips.

Hey, gang, I am attaching some pictures that wouldn't show on the livestream. This is one of the metal spinners I was talking about.

My problem is starlings and sparrows coming through the 2” net

View more comments

2 months ago
North American Gamebird Association

Join NAGA President Peg Ballou, Executive Director Rob Sexton and Abby Shuft with an update on the avian influenza situation and how it affects us right now, this summer, even though it is not front line in the press. ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago
North American Gamebird Association

Amazing recorded session with Chef Alfonso of Hocking Hills College in Ohio at the North American Gamebird Association Hunting Club Conference. If you didn't attend, you missed a great time! This next to the last session whetted our appetites and culinary desires. Plan to attend our next event. ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago
North American Gamebird Association

Chef Alfonso Contrisciani, CMC, AAC cooks pheasant for the NAGA Hunting Club Conference attendees! ... See MoreSee Less