Avian flu concerns force changes at Maine fairs

There will be no poultry at the Fryeburg Fair this year
Chicks at the Fryeburg Fair
Chicks at the Fryeburg Fair(WMTW)
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 11:42 AM EDT
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FRYEBURG, Maine (WMTW) - The Fryeburg Fair announced Monday that the Poultry Barn will be closed during the fair this year.

They also said the duck herding demonstrations planned for the fair are canceled, and Old McDonald’s Farm will not have poultry this year.

Fryeburg Fair runs from Oct. 2 to 9.

The changes are all due to current concerns and conditions in Maine involving the highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as the avian flu.

Avian flu affects poultry and birds of all kinds but is not a danger to humans. There has never been a case of avian flu in humans in Maine.

Maine Animal Health, a division of the Maine State Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, is continuing to advise cancellation or postponement of competitions, exhibitions, shows, swaps, or other in-person events encouraging the gathering or commingling of domestic fowl or poultry. That recommendation was first issued in June, and bird owners are advised to keep birds indoors.

Animal health officials in Maine recommend that all competitions, exhibitions, shows, swaps, or other in-person events encouraging the gathering or comingling of domestic fowl or poultry be postponed until at least 30 days after the last detection of an infected flock in our state.

At least 13 backyard flocks in Maine have tested positive for avian flu this year, affecting nearly 1,000 birds. The most recent was in June.

Across the country, more than 40 million birds in 39 states have been impacted by the current outbreak.

According to the federal Department of Agriculture, all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should practice protective security measures to help prevent disease and should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds.

To report a strange-acting or dead wild bird, call the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife at 207-287-8000 or the USDA at 1-866-536-7593. To learn more about the bird flu virus in Maine, visit https://www.maine.gov/dacf/ahw/animal_health/hpai/?fbclid=IwAR38dMrel-kqIwXO3ulvIhqlwGY15PQ6VFFxVU2VrmlDLYzjAPYOhG-u4Jo