Vets turn to chicken flipping
County fair time is chicken flipping time for Jessica Laurin, Marion veterinarian.
Each chicken entered in the county fair has to have a blood test for salmonella, and Laurin flipped 83 chickens last week to perform the tests.
“We don’t want anyone going through the barn to get exposed and get sick, so we test the birds,” she said.
Laurin has checked all the chickens entered in the county fair for the past few years. The test is one of many things 4-H’ers have to do to ensure animals they bring to the fair are healthy.
“Nearly all animals need to have vaccinations against things like colds that are easily passable,” Laurin said.
All animals must be free of visible signs of infectious disease. Goats and cattle with ringworm, warts, or mange are not permitted. Sheep must be inspected by a veterinarian before they can be unloaded at the fair and won’t be admitted if they have signs of sore mouth or fungal infections. Poultry must have a negative test for disease pullorum and fowl typhoid.
Laurin recommends a rabies vaccination for every animal.
“You never know what animals they might come in contact with,” she said.
While it isn’t required, Laurin said, it is a good idea to shear show sheep before the fair to prevent the spread of fungus.
“Some fairs require sheep to be shaved before they can even be unloaded,” she said. “The fungus is easy to spread at the fair because you have people shearing then letting others borrow their clippers. Then you have the fungus passed by the clippers to multiple families’ animals.”
The biggest thing anyone can do to make sure their and others animals stay safe is to use common sense, Laurin said.
“If an animal is sick, then just leave it at home,” she said. “There’s no sense in exposing it and other animals to illness.”
Animals may stop drinking because water at the fair tastes strange.
It’s also a good idea to bring water from home, Laurin said. If that is not possible, Laurin recommends some sort of flavoring to make sure animals don’t stop drinking.
“You want to try and reduce stress as much as possible by trying to emulate a home environment,” She said.
Jessica Winter, veterinarian with Hillsboro Animal Clinic, said owners should make sure animals stay cool at the fair.
“Heat can be the biggest cause of stress,” she said.
Using misters and fans and keeping fresh water can help animals beat the heat, Winter said.
“Spening a large amount of time the first few days with them can help animals feel calmer and more at home,” she said.
Laurin said vets from around the area are often close by at fair time in case something happens to an animal.