birding-aus Newcastle's Disease Update

To: "" <>, "" <>, tim morris <>
Subject: birding-aus Newcastle's Disease Update
From: morris <>
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 21:16:14 +1000
Hi Birders,
You may be interested to know that the last of the 1.9 million
commercial chickens that were killed as part of the Newcastle Disease
control programme were put down on Tuesday 12/5/99. On the previous
Saturday the destruction of the approx 2000 backyard chickens, ducks,
geese and aviary birds on 122 properties within the infected area
(basically around Mangrove Mountain on the Central Coast of NSW)
commenced and this is expected to be completed by this weekend.
A positive Newcastle Disease test from a backyard chicken at Mangrove
Mountain was confirmed on 19/5/99. The chicken which came from an
apparently healthy backyard flock on a property located between two of
the 8 infected commercial properties was tested several weeks ago,
although the results were only completed this week.
There have been no new cases of the virulent strain of the disease for
13-14 days, and the Local Disease Control Centre is now feeling
confident that the disease has been contained to the Mangrove Mountain
area. The NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Dick Jane said in the local paper
today that the positive test supported the decision to kill the the
backyard birds because of the risk that they could carry the disease. He
said that the LDCC always believed that backyard birds within the
Mangrove Mountain area were at serious risk from this disease outbreak
Dr Jane said that it was extremely distressing for the owners of
backyard birds and pets which had to be destroyed and it was also
distressing for veterinarians who had to do the task.
The LDCC is now in the process of constructing a third large pit in
which to dispose of the 13000 cu M of chicken litter and chook poo from
the 30 commercial farms - that is about 300 semi trailer loads of the
stuff! The removal will commence next week. Decontamination of the
properties will commence after that and will continue for a further 6
Also commencing on Monday 18/5/99 was the poison baiting of wild birds
around the 30 commercial farms, with emphasis on the infected
properties.Indian Mynas, European Starlings & House Sparrows were the
main targets but it was expected that some native birds would also
succumb,. The mynas, starlings & sparrows are the birds that get inside
of the chicken sheds to get the chook food and may have the greatest
chance of contracting the disease, plus that they live and roost in
flocks and so have the potential to pass the disease on. The birds
killed by the baiting programme are also being tested for the disease.
Spotted Turtle-Doves, Peaceful Dove, Crested Pigeon, Eastern Rosella and
Magpie-larks have been killed in this way, but so far 85% of all deaths
have been Mynas. The adhoc collecting of wild birds in the Restricted
Area has been  undertaken from road kills, unauthorized shooting,
unexplained deaths etc since the first outbreak on 1/4/99 . Altogether
about 66 wild birds have been sent for testing along with the wild birds
killed from the baiting programme and so far all these wild birds have
tested negative to Newcastle's Disease. Some interesting road kills did
come in including a Masked Owl, Laughing Kookaburras, Little Wattlebird,
European Blackbird and these have tested negative to ND as previously
Some of the backyard aviary birds destroyed I understand included birds
such as Gang Gangs, Major Mitchell and Glossy Black Cockatoos.( Why do
people want to keep these birds in cages in the first place?).
Hopefully the end is in sight and there will be no further outbreak of
ND in the Gosford area.
One of the people whose backyard birds were killed is a member of Birds
Australia and an active member of the Central Coast Group of the NSWFOC,
an active atlasser & wildlife carer. She lost her 22 chooks, a goose or
two and two parrots that she was caring for ready for release back to
the wild. On her property which is between two infected properties,a
pair of Glossy Black Cockatoos are nesting and even while the chooks
were being put down, the glossies flew over. When she was reporting in
today about her records to go into the CCFOC Newsletter for our meeting
on Tuesday night, she was able to tell me that 8 glossies had flown over
today day! Margaret is well known to members of the NSWFOC as she has
led a number of bird outings for us in and around Mangrove Mountain.

Alan Morris

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