The rising popularity of backyard chickens and other birds underscores the need to know how to keep that flock healthy. A Nov. 1 seminar at the University of Arkansas will drive the point home.

The seminar will be held at the Pauline Whitaker Arena, 1335 Knapp, in Fayetteville, Ark., beginning at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend.

“The seminar is part of Bird Health Awareness Week, which runs Oct. 30-Nov. 5,” said Dustan Clark, Extension poultry veterinarian for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “And while most people might know that keeping a backyard flock is a fun hobby, there are serious implications to that flock’s health, as we saw during several avian flu scares of the last few years.’”

Bird Health Awareness Week is part of the USDA’s Biosecurity for Birds campaign, to raise awareness about diseases that threaten bird health and the ways to prevent spread of infectious poultry diseases.

“We will be answering questions about diseases and disease prevention in backyard poultry,” Clark said.

Poultry projects have been a traditional 4-H activity and backyard flocks are becoming more common as people dive into the local foods movement.

November 1 will also be the date of a national discussion by Twitter between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Join the conversation by using #HHchat and have questions answered by an expert from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service. For more information, or to request materials, visit http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov. Participants may also submit questions in advance by emailing birdbiosecurity@aphis.usda.gov.

Partners in the awareness week include 4-H and the National FFA.

For more information about livestock health, contact your county Extension office, or visit www.uaex.edu.