ST. ANTHONY, Idaho (KIFI) - Ben Carlos and his family run the small family farm in St. Anthony called Black Bear Family Farms. As a farmer with chickens and turkeys, he has to keep a close eye on his flock of nearly 50 birds.
He says he is staying so vigilant in his watch as the warning signs can come at any point.
"Just like people chickens sneeze, and so that's one way, to see a sign if they start sneezing a lot," he said. "They can get a discharge sometimes in their nostril on the beak area; this clear fluid, which is an indication that they're getting fluid in their lungs. And they get lethargic. So that's another issue."
Carlos says while his birds are healthy amongst themselves so far, the main issue is threats from visiting aviators.
"Because, you know, I have open waters and open feeders, and so you can on occasion get a wild critter come in, you know, whether it's just sparrows or, you know, mockingbirds or something, you know, any any avian creature can carry it," he said. "Ducks in particular are bad, but ducks usually leave this area alone. But as you would noticed earlier, too, the issue with wild turkeys you can hear them. They're calling. And so I do get wild turkeys that on occasion will come out from around the river and respond So I got to watch for that."
He says thankfully so far, the quick acting disease hasn't come to his flock allowing him to prepare for the first farmers market of the year.
"So far, knock on wood, I've not been affected. They're healthy. And so my production is at full capacity. And, you know, I don't have any issues at the moment," he said. "Thankfully, but like I said, it could change on a dime. I just got to watch and keep them protected."
Carlos says some of the preventative measures he's been able to do are rather simple but go a long way in helping his flock.
"I'll give them one of the preventative things as the apple cider vinegar. I'll add that to their water, and that helps keep them a little bit better," Carlos said.
He also is making sure the birds immune systems can have all the help that they need.
"There are an antioxidant blend of vitamins, minerals and vitamins that I can give them. I can get that a Cal-Ranch or other places like that," he said. "And I'll mix that with the water sometimes. And then just making sure there's good ventilation, keeping the coop clean, as much as I can this time of year. It's tough with the weather and mud gets farmed real fast.
Carlos says as long as his birds continue to stay healthy he plans to be at the Famers Market the first weekend in May.