Andrea Heesters, who lives in The Netherlands, has kept me and the SPPA informed of poultry news in Europe as the Avian Influenza problems have unfolded. She shared her story of vaccinating her geese and chickens last year. The birds were vaccinated again this past week, as cases of H5N1 are identified in Europe.
The vet comes to her property and vaccinates the birds with Gallimune flu H5N9 from Merial. In the picture aboved, he is vaccinating one of their Black Orpington bantams, held by Andrea's daughter.
In the U.S., the USDA forbids small flock owners from protecting their birds with vaccine. The agency's justification is that it needs to stockpile the vaccine so that it will be available in the event of an outbreak.
Since the vaccine requires two immunizations two weeks apart, by the time an outbreak is identified, it would be too late for many flocks.
Andrea is tireless in her support of poultry, geese in particular. Look for another article about her experiences managing Geese in the City in the August/September issue of Backyard Poultry magazine.
She has added this site to her poultry links pages, both in English, http://www.buffganzen.nl/html_uk/links.html, and in Dutch, http://www.buffganzen.nl/html_nl/links.html.