Biosecurity Practices That Everyone Should Follow
- Control of human traffic: Restrict visitors to essential personnel only. Ideally, from a biosecurity standpoint, there would be no visitors at all. All people moving onto and within the site should be approved and records kept, including all contractors, service people, maintenance personnel, site visitors, friends, and neighbors. Have a clear procedure in place for all entering the barn, provide dedicated clean within-barn coveralls and footwear for both staff and visitors. Clean hands by washing or with sanitizer. Some may require showers before entering barns. Keep footbaths clean and contents frequently changed. Footbaths should NOT be a substitute for dedicated in-barn footwear. Growers should refrain from visiting other farm operations unless necessary. If it is deemed necessary, then showers and disinfecting of clothing, vehicle and any equipment is crucial. Personnel should also be trained in and understand the biosecurity protocols in place.
- Control of vermin, insects, and wild birds: An active vermin and wild bird procedure should be in place and can include trapping, baiting, and discouragement methods. The pest control protocol needs to be proactively managed by monitoring activity and moving bait/trapping stations accordingly. Premises and surrounding environments need to be kept clean and tidy and keeping vegetation from around the sheds removes vermin habitat. Feed spillage from feed deliveries or leaks need to be cleaned immediately so as not to attract wild birds or rodents.
- Control of vehicular traffic and equipment: Minimize the risk of cross-contamination from external areas onto the site. Vehicle entry to site should be kept to a minimum. Drivers should limit movements to the essential activities such as feed delivery, stock delivery, litter delivery, or harvest. Equipment used inside the barn should not be stored outside unless there is a thorough program in place for cleaning and sanitizing the equipment before use inside the shed. Equipment and vehicles must be sanitized before use between barns in order to prevent cross-contamination between flocks or herds.
- Control of animal health and mortality: Growers must inspect their animals daily and dispose of mortality in a timely and approved method. Leaving carcasses to decompose in a pile increases the risk of disease spreading via insects and rodents.
An approved vaccination/medication program should be in place to prevent disease. Timely reporting of health issues on a farm will also help restrict the spread of infection and minimize losses to the grower and the company.
- Control of barn environment: Good ventilation can reduce the growth of disease-causing microbes in the barn. Fresh air entering and leaving the barn dilutes the microbe population. Poor ventilation can result in chickens becoming stressed and can cause irritation of the respiratory system which in turn makes them more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Good ventilation will also prevent the buildup toxic gases such as ammonia and carbon dioxide in the barn. Ensure the litter is adequately dry, as damp litter and warm house conditions provide ideal growth conditions for disease-causing microbes. If litter is not kept at an acceptable level, high bacterial loads and unsanitary growing conditions may result producing odors, insect problems, soiled feathers, footpad lesions and breast bruises or blisters. Litter that is managed correctly with the moisture content kept within the acceptable range (25 to 35 percent) can be reused if no disease or other production problems occur. The water supply to the barn should be clean and treated if necessary to minimize the risk of introducing organisms into the shed via the drinker system and to limit the spread of any organisms at drinker level. Feed must be stored well so that it is not contaminated before being fed to the flock.
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