© 2022 MICHIGAN RADIO
91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Poultry banned from Michigan's county fairs this year

Imposing_chicken.jpg
Wikimedia/creative commons
/

There will be something missing from the state's 80 county fairs and 4-H exhibitions this year.

Michigan's State Veterinarian, James Averill, has banned showings of chickens and other birds as a precaution, in response to the  epidemic of avian flu that's caused the deaths of tens of millions of birds in other states like Iowa.
Michigan Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Jennifer Holton says it was a difficult decision. 

"We know the tremendous amount of time, money, and passion kids and all these other exhibitors invest in their birds," says Holton, "and the importance of having animals at these events to interact with the public. But the rapid spread of this virus has been historic, and we had to make the decision to protect the health of all the state's poultry flock, both backyard and commercial farmers."

Michigan has not yet had a case of the highly infectious strain of avian flu that's forced farmers in a number of states to slaughter their flocks, and Holton says the state wants to keep it that way.

Holton says kids in 4-H programs can show off their knowledge in other ways this year, like making poultry models or poster displays or participating in contests. 

County fairs and local exhibitors are encouraged to go to the MSU Extension website -  msue.msu.edu/poultryshows - to get a list of options for poultry exhibitors. Those options include suggestions for showmanship, breed classes, market classes and auctions.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.