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Biosecurity for Birds: Exoctic Newcastle Disease

Exotic Newcastle disease (END) is a deadly viral disease affecting all species of birds. END spreads quickly and can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry. All bird owners should be aware of the END basics, what you can do to help prevent the disease, and the steps to take if you suspect your birds may have it. After all, you are the best protection your birds have.

Know the Signs of END

  • Sudden death and increased death loss in flock
  • Sneezing, gasping for air, nasal discharge, coughing
  • Greenish, watery diarrhea
  • Decreased activity, tremors, drooping wings, twisting of head and neck, circling, complete stiffness
  • Swelling around the eyes and neck

How END Spreads

END spreads when healthy birds come in direct contact with bodily fluids from sick birds. The disease affects almost all birds and poultry, even vaccinated poultry. The END virus can travel on manure, egg flats, crates, other farming materials or equipment, and people who have picked up the virus on their clothing, shoes, or hands.

Practice Backyard Biosecurity

To help prevent the disease from spreading:

  • Restrict traffic onto and off of your property.
  • Disinfect shoes, clothes, hands, egg trays or flats, crates, vehicles, and tires.
  • Avoid visiting other poultry farms or bird owners. If you do, be sure to change clothes and clean your hands and shoes before entering your own bird area.


Vaccination is another tool to protect your birds against END. Your local agricultural extension office, veterinarian, or feed stores that sell vaccines in your area can give vital information on the proper vaccines for your birds. Good health for your birds benefits everyone.

Smart Practices When Buying Birds

To help be certain your new birds are healthy, here are a few simple steps you can follow:

  • Buy from a reputable dealer,
  • Request certification from suppliers that birds were legally imported,
  • Maintain records of all sales and shipments of flocks,
  • Keep new birds separated from your flock for at least 30 days, and
  • Keep young and old birds and birds of different species and from different sources apart.

Report Sick Birds at 1-866-536-7593.

If your birds are sick or dying, call your agricultural extension agent, local veterinarian, or the State veterinarian. Or, call the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) toll-free at 1-866-536-7593, and we’ll put you in touch with a local contact.