Authorities warn that H5N1 Avian Influenza has been detected in wild birds in Venango County. H5N1 is a deadly and transmissible variant of the Avian Flu that affects poultry and can be passed on by wild birds to infect both commercial and backyard flocks of poultry. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture lists symptoms of this avian flu variant as unexplained sudden death, swelling of the head, purple discoloration of combs and wattles, a sudden drop in water and feed consumption, and lethargy and depression. Unfortunately there is no cure and so depopulation is the only effective way to stop the spread.
Avian Influenza is contracted through contact with the feces of infected birds so to protect their flock from disease, backyard chicken owners should keep poultry inside their coup to avoid contact with wild birds; remove birdhouses, feeders, and other wild bird attracting features around their homes; wash your hands before and after contact with your birds; wear dedicated footwear and clothing that you clean and disinfect after use when handling your birds; limit visitors to the area you keep your poultry. Contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at (717)772-2852 if you witness illness or death within your flock and the Pennsylvania Game Commission at (610)926-3136 for the same in wild birds.
The Meadville-Western Crawford County Chamber of Commerce Chili Chowder and Soup Cookoff is tomorrow night from 5PM to 8PM at the Italian Civic Club in Meadville. Tickets can be purchased until noon tomorrow at the Crawford County Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce for $15 or you can buy tickets at the door for $20 during the event. 15 contestants including some of the Meadville area’s favorite eateries will compete in each category and for the coveted people’s choice award on the night of Thursday, March 31st. Competitors include Cannon’s Chophouse, Chipper’s Pub, The Country Club of Meadville, Crooked Paddle, Downtown Mall Bistro, Firehouse Tap & Grille, Hunter’s Inn, The Italian Civic Club, JT’s Steamtable, Juniper Village, Laurel Technical Institute, Lucantino’s Trattoria, Ranz Bar and Grill, Riverside Brewing Company, and Smokey Martin’s BBQ.