Abundance of chickens present at county fair following avian flu scare

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 4:49 PM CDT
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CLAY COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - One fair in Northeast Arkansas has seen a busy week, and it’s not just in the number of activities.

The Clay County Fair wraps up on Saturday, Sept. 16, and big events such as a rodeo and demolition derby remain on the schedule.

Fair Board President Marty Conley said the fair is always a fun event for everyone.

“We sure missed having the fair during the covid year, and we’re glad to have all the kids back and had a really good turnout this year,” he said. “This morning [Friday], we just finished up our youth day and had over 500 kids here. We had kids from all three schools in the county. Piggott School was here, the entire elementary got to come from Piggott, we had a good turnout from Rector and Corning also.”

Poultry and waterfowl are part of this year’s fair, which were missing from last year due to a spike in avian bird flu cases.

Conley said it was sad both couldn’t be a part of last year’s fair, but for the safety of everyone and their animals, it just wasn’t possible.

“People had to take precautions and put their birds inside and avoid contact with the waterfowl flying over,” he said.

After the year-long break, bird numbers are some of the highest they’ve ever been.

“We had a full house of chickens this year. We had 110 chickens. That’s a lot of chickens for us. We had some really nice birds,” Conley said.

He said testing the animals for the diseases this year was crucial.

“I also test chickens, so it’s part of my responsibility with what’s going on with that,” Conley said.

With birds being this close this year, the testing protocol was more strict than usual.

“We really have to watch and even watch for other diseases too. When you bring birds together like that, you don’t want anything to transfer to somebody else’s flock,” Conley said.

For more information on the Clay County Fair, visit the event’s Facebook page.