Poultry testing. When I told my physical therapist that was my big weekend plans she thought I said poetry reading. I understand her confusion.

This weekend was our annual poultry testing certification class which is way more fun than poetry reading. Poultry testing is a required skill for state livestock inspectors and one we are able to teach the public. In just four hours, a written exam and a short practical most anyone can be a certified poultry tester. At least in our state.

We test poultry for influenza and salmonella. Poultry testing is easy but it takes patience. Generally poultry testing involves a 4Her with a couple dozen tame hens, which is always fun. The patience comes in when you have to catch the hens yourself, there’s more than a couple dozen, they’re actually pheasants, loose in a field.

Patience also comes in when checking expiration dates of blood tubes, keeping antigen cool, cleaning boots, changing clothes, spraying down truck tires, writing down band numbers, filling out forms, and in getting just enough media in AI (avian influenza) tubes; while handling live birds.

It’s a blast to teach. Coordination is the only hard part. This year I tried to coordinate everything electronically. I made an online “interest” form and shared it on facebook. Thirty couple people signed up. Then I asked them to turn in and paper application with a check. Only a few did. They thought the google form was the registration form. I got really impatient. We needed the money to buy the birds to teach the class and we needed the applications to process the money and to get a final head count. It was kind of a mess, mostly because I used a google form and facebook instead of a regular mailing like everyone told me to. Life lessons. Google forms are still the answer though. Poultry testing is humbling so it makes sense that teaching it would be too. Still way more fun than poetry reading.

Did you have big plans over the weekend? More fun than teaching people to swab chickens? Let me know in the comments. And if you want to know more about poultry testing I could talk about it all day so there’s that.

Hugs and chickens,
Emily

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