Backyard Poultry Certification Course

Interest in keeping backyard poultry has been increasing steadily with a huge jump in growth around the COVID pandemic and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak due to egg price increases and egg shortages.  We have also see a big jump in the number of 4H kiddos who want to keep chickens and turkeys for 4H livestock projects.  Many cities and municipalities require a certification before they allow you to keep backyard poultry.  Lots of people just want to learn more about this for their own family and personal food security.  Maybe this is the perfect holiday gift for that hard to buy family member.  Whatever your reason, we have you covered.


The course costs $25 dollars. (Super cheep!)  Click on the QR code or head to

This self-paced course is expected to take 2-3 hours to complete and includes the following 6 modules:

  • Getting Started
  • Brooding, Basic Husbandry & Nutrition
  • Housing
  • Egg Production
  • Maximizing Health
  • Biosecurity

After completing this course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify rules and regulations relevant to raising backyard poultry in their state, city, or municipality
  • Source healthy birds to raise in their backyard
  • Apply concepts of basic husbandry, nutrition, and housing to successfully raise backyard poultry.
  • Explain how eggs are produced
  • Practice safe handling of birds and eggs
  • Recognize health-related abnormalities of poultry through physical examination
  • Describe the roles of of veterinary care and biosecurity in maximizing poultry health

There are NO refunds issued for this course.
If you have questions about the course, contact Tim McDermott at for assistance.

Infectious Coryza

Infectious Coryza

Infectious coryza (IC) is caused by the bacteria Avibacterium paragallinarum. Both broiler chickens and laying hens from all age groups are susceptible, but the disease is more common and lasts longer in older birds. IC affects mainly the upper respiratory tract and has the potential to cause a marked reduction in egg production and poor performance. The incidence of IC has increased in recent years, with more complicated clinical signs and higher mortality rates reported, representing an important threat to animal welfare and egg production. It is important to get familiar with the disease for early detection and intervention. Check out the attached link for more information.

Understanding the current avian influenza outbreak and its impact 

Outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in poultry and wild birds are happening worldwide. The majority of the cases have happened in European and North American countries, but more recently, outbreaks started to occur in Central and South America [WOAH]. In the US, 58.48 million commercial and backyard birds have been affected, mainly commercial laying hens and turkeys [USDA]. The severity and dimension of the current epidemic represent a threat to birds’ health, the livelihood of farmers, and food security.

Avian Influenza (AI) is caused by influenza virus A from the Orthomyxoviridae family. Subtypes are classified according to hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N) antigens. There are 16 H (H1-16) and 9 N (N1-9) subtypes officially recognized; the predominant subtype linked to the present outbreak is H5N1. AI is divided into low or high pathogenicity avian influenza according to the subtype and virulence of influenza A viruses; HPAI are cases involving subtypes H5 or H7 or other subtypes causing high pathogenicity using intravenous inoculation; LPAI are infections with any H subtype (H1-16) not causing high pathogenicity. Although AI caused by LPAI viruses does not cause severe clinical signs, LPAI viruses can mutate and become HPAI [WOAH].

Clinical signs vary depending on the bird species, immunological status, and virus virulence. In domestic birds, including chickens and turkeys, general respiratory signs can be observed, including coughing, difficulty breathing, swelling of the sinuses and/or head, in addition to cyanosis, incoordination, tremors, twisted necks, decreased water and feed consumption, and diarrhea. In some cases, no clinical signs are present, only sudden death [WOAH, University of Minnesota Extension]. Aquatic birds, mainly waterfowl and shorebirds, are the natural reservoir of AI viruses. The spread of AI viruses has been linked to the large congregations, seasonal migration, and interconnection of migratory routes of wild birds.

All the elements behind the severity of the current outbreak remain unclear. Compared to past HPAI outbreaks, the present H5N1 subtype seems to infect a diverse range of wild bird species, leading to clinical signs and mortality in some cases and also infecting mammals more frequently [Why is bird flu so bad right now?, USGS National Wildlife Health Center]. It is important to emphasize that wild birds and mammals should not be harmed to avoid transmission of HPAI. Conservation of wildlife habitats is part of a planetary health approach.

Avian influenza is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted to humans. However, presently, the risk for public health is considered low because human cases have been sporadic, and no human-to-human transmission has been observed [World Health Organization, CDC]. People at risk are those in direct contact with birds (farms, shows, and live markets). Transmission of HPAI is not associated with the consumption of poultry products adequately prepared and cooked.

Strong biosecurity measures are the only and best tool that we have right now to avoid new outbreaks in birds and to avoid getting human transmission, even though the risk for public health is considered low. Some biosecurity measures include:

  • Using designated clothes, rubber boots, and work gloves when handling birds
  • Washing your hands after handling birds
  • Keeping domestic birds away from wild birds
  • Keeping domestic birds away from open water
  • Protecting feed and water sources from wild birds
  • Restricting visitors
  • Avoiding visiting other domestic and wild birds
  • Having an integrated pest management control

To see more biosecurity measures, check the “Defend the Flock Program” by USDA and for more measures to prevent contact with wild birds, click here.

If your birds are showing clinical signs related to AI, or sudden death is occurring, contact a veterinarian or state authorities. In Ohio, the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the Ohio Poultry Association can be contacted when a case in domestic birds is suspected. In case of a sick or dead wild bird, report to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Due to the enormous impact of HPAI not only on birds, financial and mental stress on farmers, and international trade restrictions, the efforts to prevent outbreaks need to be holistic, global, and collaborative, including surveillance of wild birds in popular flyways and breeding grounds, strengthening biosecurity measures in poultry farms and backyard flocks, and prompt notification of new outbreaks. International organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), together with authorities at the country level, such as USDA and CDC in the USA, are constantly monitoring and evaluating the risk of outbreaks of HPAI for animal and human health.


Thainá Landim de Barros – DVM, MS, Ph.D, Assistant Professor and Poultry Health Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences and Center for Food Animal Health, The Ohio State University –

Factsheet # AS-P-3-22 Dynamics of Poultry Diseases – What can be done to prevent diseases?

Poultry Diseases Factsheet AS-P-3-22

“Prevention of diseases is of paramount importance in poultry production. A system perspective, considering bird health, pathogens, barn husbandry, biosecurity, and the role of a veterinarian, is vital to mitigate the risk of diseases. To understand the outcome of the infection with infectious pathogens (viruses, bacteria, protozoa, or fungi), we need to consider multiple factors”.

Biosecurity for Backyard Poultry

Biosecurity is one of the most important tools in the toolbox of the poultry producer.  Learn some tips about keeping your flock safe in this short video collaboration with The Ohio Poultry Association.

It is also up on OSU Extension Facebook and Twitter.  Feel free to share with your audiences.

Update on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza January 20th, 2022

Last week USDA APHIS issued updates that included multiple cases of High Path Avian Influenza in the Carolinas(waterfowl), which would put them on a path towards Ohio following the migratory waterfowl pathways.  Attached is a PDF technical report with a bunch of helpful links embedded to assist your clients who are hunters, backyard poultry keepers, or members of the 4-H community as they prepare for chick season.  Biosecurity will be critical to avoid an outbreak this season.

Click here to view, print, or download the PDF —> High Path Avian Influenza Update 01 19 22

Backyard Poultry Production Resources

There has been a resurgence of people who wish to raise their own food for personal and family food security, both with produce and with poultry.  I am increasingly getting asked about backyard poultry keeping so I wanted to put a resource together to assist you in getting the knowledge you need for safe, healthy and productive backyard poultry keeping.

FIRST THING:  Find out the regulations in your city or municipality that governs the keeping of backyard poultry and follow those rules carefully. 


I created a Backyard Poultry Keeper Online Certificate Course.  Super Cheep at $25 dollars.  This can be used if you have a city or county that requires a certificate.

To register for the course CLICK HERE.   You can also find it at  –>


We also have a number of Fact Sheets hosted on Ohioline to support poultry keeping:


If you need help finding a Veterinarian that sees poultry,  we have a list plus a map to assist you with that.


If you have questions regarding the keeping of poultry after watching the webinar then feel free to contact me at