Chicken Owners Invited to Take Survey Guiding Disease Prevention

chickens in coop

Chicken Owners Invited to Take Survey Guiding Disease Prevention

Californians who raise chickens and game fowl are invited to participate in a study to help the University of California more effectively deliver poultry health information and prevent the spread of diseases such as avian influenza.

Myrna Cadena, a Ph.D. student working with Maurice Pitesky, UC Cooperative Extension poultry specialist at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, is leading a study with the Backyard Chickens and Game Fowl survey:

“Knowing how live birds are moved in California will be crucial in the event of a poultry disease outbreak,” Cadena said. “For example, if we know which counties have a large number of chickens coming in and out, then we can focus resources in those areas. The data collected could help us determine where to hold biosecurity workshops or distribute poultry vaccines.”


A map shows circles indicating concentrations of poultry and lines showing their movement.

The researchers intend to identify areas of the state where there are large numbers of poultry to create a map like this focus their resources.

“I define game fowl as breeds of chickens – such as Kelso, Hatch, Claret and Roundhead – intended primarily for exhibition and competition, and bred for beauty, strength, health, vitality and longevity,” Cadena said. “Game fowl flocks may be kept at residences or farms.” 

The survey takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete and includes questions about the flock; biosecurity practices; buying, selling and trading birds; and movement of birds for shows and fairs.

“We are university researchers, not a regulatory agency, so we are focused on outreach and education, not regulation and enforcement,” said Pitesky, who encourages owners of small-scale poultry operations to contribute to the research project.

To participate in this voluntary study about backyard chickens and game fowl in California, please fill out the survey at by Sept. 30.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the researchers at or

Also, check out the video series, The Sitch, where Pitesky breaks down the basics of beginning a poultry farm and raising a backyard chicken flock:

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