The City of Greater Geraldton has a unique proposition for someone living near the Chapman or Greenough Rivers willing to care for and provide facilities for 12 chickens for 12 months as part of the Sentinel Chicken Program.
The program is used across Australia and internationally to monitor potentially serious mosquito-borne viruses which can be spread to humans.
The Aborvirus Surveillance and Research Laboratory at the University of WA provide 12 chickens of 6-9 weeks of age for the City’s Health Department to take blood samples every fortnight.
Testing of chicken serum samples provides early warning of increased Murray Valley Encephalitis virus and Kunjin virus activity in the Geraldton area.
Chickens are used in this program as mosquitos are attracted to them however they do not get ill from the virus and cannot pass it on to humans or other chickens.
A fox proof enclosure with easy human access is necessary and the chicken carer can keep all the eggs produced by the flock and can keep the chickens after the 12 month trial period.
The sentinel chicken flock will arrive on November 4 and anyone willing to help should contact Marie Struwig on 9956 6680.