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PLoS One. 2019 Sep 19;14(9):e0222398. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222398. eCollection 2019.

Economic and livestock health impacts of birds on dairies: Evidence from a survey of Washington dairy operators.

Author information

National Wildlife Research Center, USDA/APHIS/WS, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America.
Department of Animal Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, United States of America.
Department of Biology, Trinity Western University, Langley, BC V2Y 1Y1, Canada.


The survey described in this research paper aimed to investigate the economic and health impacts of birds on dairies. Birds are common pests on dairies, consuming and contaminating feed intended for cattle. As a result, dairy operators experience increased feed costs and increased pathogen and disease risk. We surveyed dairy operators attending the 2017 Washington Dairy Conference to examine the impact of birds on dairies in Washington State. Dairy operators reported feed losses valued at $55 per cow resulting in annual losses totaling $5.5 million in the Western region of the state and $9.2 million in the Eastern region of the state. Shooting was the most commonly used bird management method and European starlings (Sternus vulgaris) were the most frequently implicated species statewide. Bird abundance greater than 10,000 birds per day was associated with larger herd size and with self-reported presence of Johne's disease and Salmonella.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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