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Do New England owners of backyard chickens need to worry about the recent bird flu outbreak?

The short answer is yes. All domestic poultry—whether a commercial operation in Iowa with 1,000 egg-laying hens or a single Rhode Island Red that also doubles as a family pet in Massachusetts—are equally susceptible to the avian influenza virus strains that have crippled the U.S. poultry industry over the past year. While fewer backyard flocks have been affected by the current outbreak, we know that this virus really does a number on domestic turkeys, chickens, Guinea hens and other birds that people keep in backyard flocks.

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