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Because most of these veterinarians are working with large commercial flocks they may not be readily accessible to most backyard poultry enthusiasts. Many veterinarians working with the occasional backyard chicken may not even be aware of their existence. It is obvious that their assistance, when sought, can be invaluable. The largest veterinary avian community (by membership) is the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV). Its membership is primarily composed of veterinarians working with companion birds, but is by no means confined to it.

Commercial producers are highly protective of their very large and very expensive investment and small flocks of chickens present a credible and ever-present danger to their livelihood and the lives of their birds. Matters become even more fraught when public health is at stake. The State has a responsibility to protect its citizens and the State takes this matter seriously. Even though there has not been a single human case of avian influenza within the United States, you would be hard pressed to find any American who has not heard of the disease.

If chickens are addressed under a city's animal control ordinances, then further regulations concerning lot size, setbacks, or coop requirements may be conveniently located in this place. As noted above, it may be unclear as to whether backyard poultry are considered pets or livestock. If such a distinction is not clear, the opinion of the city clerk or the city's legal counsel may be sought. If an Animal Control department exists, then the advice of their department should be sought, as they are very likely the people who actually have policing authority.

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Ferret & Fox


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