By Jessie Collins
What is Biosecurity – a set of policies and procedures put in place to protect a property from the entry and spread of diseases and pests. Biosecurity is the responsibility of everyone who steps foot on another’s property.
Why is it important – various diseases/pests specific to poultry can be transmitted through the following vectors. Many of the diseases that can be transmitted have no cure and jeopardize the health of an entire flock.
- intro of diseased birds
- intro of healthy birds that are carriers
- impure water
- egg transmission
- rodents, wild animals/birds, insects
- contaminated feed/feed bags
- contaminated soil/old litter
- airborne formites
How to be biosecure – the basics – see the post on Biosecurity Self-Assessment for more in-depth measures –
- Start with healthy genetically sound birds
- Obtain chicks from a reputable breeder or hatchery
- Ask to see parent stock if from a breeder, dated pics of living conditions, etc.
- Regularly disinfect
- Waterers and feeders
- Coop, brooder and any equipment used during cleaning
- Plastic coops are preferred
- Never wear street clothes/shoes into the coop/run
- Wash hands before and after being in the coop
- Have boots/overalls/cap designated for coop/run use only
- Disinfectant dip pans for boots at each coop entrance
- Don’t wear coop shoes/clothes in the house or off the property
- All in/all out policy
- If not, quarantine for a minimum of 30 days as far away as physically possible from the existing flock, preferably downwind.
- If multiple coops/pens – go from young to old or old to new when feeding and cleaning out coops.
- Don’t allow visitors into chicken areas
- Dispose of dead birds properly
- Recommended to have all deceased birds sent in for a necropsy
- Please check with your local AG extension office for proper ways to dispose of birds in your state/county
- Clear zone around all coops and nearby buildings/structures
- Well ventilated and draft free coop
- Clean soiled litter frequently
- If unable to clean out, top dress with new litter – 5”-7” inches deep
- Dispose of soiled litter appropriately
- Compost in an approved and properly managed method
- Do not store in uncovered piles
- Use appropriate disinfectants and insecticides when warranted
- Virkon S is one that has been field tested to kill many different bacteria and viruses, including Marek’s
- Elector PSP, Permetherin 10 Spray/Permectin II or Garden & Poultry Dust
- Insecticides must be labeled for poultry and applied as labeled in order to have zero egg withdrawal
How to determine how much Biosecurity is needed –
- Not everyone has the same resources, so do what you can with what you have
- Common Sense
- Basic hygiene and proper husbandry
- Immediately isolating sick birds/quarantining new birds
- Use antibiotics sparingly
- Relative Risk
- Complete the Biosecurity Self-Assessment
- Not everyone needs the same level of security
- Some states are more prone to vectors that spread disease
- Some states have a current outbreak of viral diseases
Backyard Poultry Medicine and Surgery A Guide for Veterinary Practitioners
Blackwell’s Five Minute Veterinary Consult: Avian
The Health of Poultry
For further information please review –
Biosecurity Guide for Poultry and Bird Owners https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/2014/pub_bioguide_poultry_bird.pdf
Backyard Poultry Biosecurity http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/3381/backyard-poultry-biosecurity/
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