Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Mass

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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources' (MDAR) Division of Animal Health is informing the public that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been detected in Essex County. 
MDAR and its partner agencies depopulated and disposed of a non-commercial, mixed-species backyard flock (non-poultry) in Essex County due to HPAI. Birds on the affected premises died suddenly without exhibiting any other clinical signs consistent with HPAI and samples tested positive for the disease.
MDAR advises backyard and commercial poultry owners to practice strong biosecurity measures to prevent domestic poultry from having contact with wild birds, their feathers, and droppings. The HPAI virus is continuing to circulate in the wild bird population, particularly in wild waterfowl. Eliminating standing water and preventing domestic birds from having access to ponds, streams, and wetland areas that attract wild waterfowl is of critical importance.
Additionally, over the past few days the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) has received reports of dead and dying wild Canada geese in Essex County and the surrounding coastal areas. These wild birds showed symptoms consistent with HPAI. Several samples have been collected for HPAI testing and results are pending. While humans are rarely infected with avian influenza viruses, humans that have prolonged close contact with sick or dead birds infected with HPAI are at the most risk of becoming infected. Officials are urging the public not to handle or feed any birds suspected of being infected. Pet owners should also prevent their dogs from making contact with wild birds.
REPORT sick or dead birds
Domestic birds:   617-626-1795 or online Poultry Disease Reporting Form: https://www.mass.gov/forms/poultry-disease-reporting-form
Wild birds:   Department of Fish and Game, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife)
For more information regarding the HPAI disease, visit MDAR's Avian Influenza?webpage. 
If you would like to contribute information on this article, contact us at info@iberkshires.com.

Second Chance Composting Comes to Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Second Chance Composting has recently brought their Residential Community Composting Program to Pittsfield.  
Memberships are open and ongoing for the 9 South Atlantic Avenue drop off location.  The program runs continuously all year, through all 4 seasons.
Memberships start at $9.99 per month, offering unlimited drop off of household food scraps to the location each month.  Members save their food scraps at home, and at their convenience, bring them to 9 South Atlantic Avenue and drop their material into the tote.  Members can come as little or as often as needed each month.  Any and all food and food scraps are accepted, including meat, fish, dairy, bones, and shells.  There are also other membership pricing options available for those who wish to receive finished compost back.
In addition to the new Pittsfield location, Second Chance Composting currently has drop off locations in North Adams, Williamstown, and Adams, which have continuous and ongoing membership signups.
Second Chance Composting picks up the material every week and it is brought to their MassDEP certified facility in Cheshire to process the food scraps into compost, which is then distributed back to the community to grow more food, flowers, plants, and trees.
Those interested in learning more or signing up for a membership can do so by visiting www.secondchancecomposting.com
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