Much like the influenza virus that infects humans, the disease is highly contagious, resulting in a wide variety of symptoms, including sudden fatigue, decreased egg production, and nasal discharge. And because there’s no way to treat domestic poultry for the bird flu, infection usually means death.
It’s early March, and Wilson is standing inside a massive storage shed on his family’s farm a few miles west of Pleasant View, in an often-forgotten corner of southwestern Colorado. Normally this time of year, this shed, and another just like it, are both full of hay bales the Wilsons will sell to dairy operations in New Mexico and Texas. This year, the sheds are empty.