What Do I Do Before a Disaster?
A disaster can occur at any time. Even small disasters, like gas leaks and a small flood, can occur unexpectedly and keep you from tending your animals. Preparing ahead of time and acting quickly is the best way to keep your family and birds safe.
- Make arrangements with a friend or neighbor living nearby to take care of your birds in the event disaster strikes when you are not home or cannot return home. He/she should be familiar with your animals, your emergency contact information and your plans in an emergency either to evacuate or shelter in place.
- If needed for a small number of birds, prearrange an evacuation site for your birds that is outside your immediate area. This could include a friend or family's house or other facilities that are willing to board birds in an emergency. It is best to contact these locations, before an emergency, to make sure they will be able to house your birds when a disaster occurs.
- If you plan to evacuate your birds when an evacuation order has been issued, have a means of transporting your birds. Plastic poultry transport crates/coops can be used for transporting your birds.
- If you plan on keeping your animals at the farm during an evacuation, plan ahead where you would keep your animals. During a disaster, the best place is to keep them in a barn or other stable structure. Have a number of feeders and waters available that would feed/water your animals for a minimum of 3 days.
- Disasters can create power outages that cause water pumps and automatic watering systems to stop working. Store enough water for 72 hours or have the contact (local fire department and vendors) that would bring water to your farm in an emergency
- Keep insurance on your farm animals current.
- Have a list of important phone numbers
- Have enough feed and bedding material to last 7-10 days at the farm. Avoid waiting until all your feed is gone before replenishing. See http://www.training.fema.gov/emiweb/downloads/is10_a-8.pdf for the short term dietary requirements for farm animals during disasters.
- For a small number of birds, prepare a "Go Bag" that would include your important phone numbers, essential bird supplements, extra feeders and waterers.
- For identification of your birds, record leg band information or have photos of your birds. Microchips can also be used. NOTE: Please make sure the microchip is registered.
- Record an inventory of all your animals including sex, color, species and ID.
- Wire for temporary coops if you plan to evacuate with your birds.
- Decide where to keep your feed, bedding and other farm supplies to keep them safe in a disaster.
- Develop an evacuation plan and become familiar with local evacuation routes
- For larger flocks, it is a good idea to consider having a backup generator in case the electricity is lost and you cannot pump water from your well. Have enough fuel available to last at least 72 hours.
- Visit your Office of Emergency Management website to sign up for automatic alerts.
- Test or run your backup generator a few times per year and make sure you have adequate fuel to run the generator for at least 72 hours.
- If you plan to evacuate with your birds, make sure the crates will be able to fit in your trailer or vehicle.
- If you don't plan on evacuating your birds in an emergency, know where you would locate them plus their feed, water and bedding.
- If evacuating chicks, make sure your waterers and feeders are suitable for their size. If needed bring a source of heat for them.