As David Petroski unloads his chickens for auction, he’s not overly concerned about them catching avian flu; the small animal auction at Green Dragon Market in Ephrata always takes precautions like sanitizing between weekly events.
“The only way it would affect it is if they shut the auctions down, dealing with poultry,” said Petroski, who owns a small poultry farm in Juniata County.
Still, Green Dragon’s auction house was visited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials both Thursday and Friday, underscoring officials’ heightened concerns over the outbreak of avian flu in Lancaster County.
As of Wednesday, April 27, 3.8 million birds had been affected by avian influenza in Pennsylvania, according to USDA data.
The first cases, discovered at Kreider Farms in East Donegal Township, led to the loss of more than 1.4 million egg-laying hens.
A sixth farm tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. So far, all avian flu identified in Pennsylvania has been limited to commercial chicken flocks in Lancaster County:
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