Ohio poultry farms build flu defense

OHIO - Finding bird flu in the United States could spell trouble for Ohio's egg industry, which ranks second only to Iowa's nationwide.

Within an hour's drive of Dayton are the nation's top two egg-producing counties, Darke and Mercer, whose egg, turkey and other poultry farms together generated $250 million in farm receipts in 2003.

Though a lethal strain of bird flu has yet to be detected in North America, Tim Weaver is taking precautions. He figures he's spent $50,000 just to hire and provide transportation for a night watchman to keep thieves, animal-rights activists and potential disease-carrying trespassers away from his more than 4 million birds housed in barns longer than a football field.

The birds lay about half of the 2 billion eggs that Weaver Bros. Inc. markets each year.

"I'm concerned about the risk (of bird flu) to commercial poultry farms," said Weaver, a third-generation egg producer. "That's why we've raised our defenses."

Weaver Bros. also recently began testing for bird flu through veterinarian Orville Thompson of Findlay, who for 15 years has gone to Weaver Bros.' egg farms regularly to monitor the flocks' health. He sends blood from the birds to Iowa for examination.

Source: Dayton Daily News
calendar icon 10 April 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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