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
  • shoes/clothing/vehicles/equipment
  • carcasses
  • 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 –

  1. Start with healthy genetically sound birds
    1. Obtain chicks from a reputable breeder or hatchery
    2. Ask to see parent stock if from a breeder, dated pics of living conditions, etc.
  2. Regularly disinfect
    1. Waterers and feeders
    2. Coop, brooder and any equipment used during cleaning
      1. Plastic coops are preferred
  3. Never wear street clothes/shoes into the coop/run
    1. Wash hands before and after being in the coop
    2. Have boots/overalls/cap designated for coop/run use only
    3. Disinfectant dip pans for boots at each coop entrance
    4. Don’t wear coop shoes/clothes in the house or off the property
  4. All in/all out policy
    1. If not, quarantine for a minimum of 30 days as far away as physically possible from the existing flock, preferably downwind.
    2. If multiple coops/pens – go from young to old or old to new when feeding and cleaning out coops.
  5. Don’t allow visitors into chicken areas
  6. Dispose of dead birds properly
    1. Recommended to have all deceased birds sent in for a necropsy
    2. Please check with your local AG extension office for proper ways to dispose of birds in your state/county
  7. Clear zone around all coops and nearby buildings/structures
  8. Well ventilated and draft free coop
  9. Clean soiled litter frequently
    1. If unable to clean out, top dress with new litter – 5”-7” inches deep
    2. Dispose of soiled litter appropriately
      1. Compost in an approved and properly managed method
      2. Do not store in uncovered piles
  10. Use appropriate disinfectants and insecticides when warranted
    1. Virkon S is one that has been field tested to kill many different bacteria and viruses, including Marek’s
    2. Elector PSP, Permetherin 10 Spray/Permectin II or Garden & Poultry Dust
      1. 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 –

  1. Economics
    1. Not everyone has the same resources, so do what you can with what you have
  2. Common Sense
    1. Basic hygiene and proper husbandry
    2. Immediately isolating sick birds/quarantining new birds
    3. Use antibiotics sparingly
  3. Relative Risk
    1. Complete the Biosecurity Self-Assessment
    2. Not everyone needs the same level of security
      1. Some states are more prone to vectors that spread disease
      2. 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

Backyard Poultry Biosecurity

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This document is meant for informational purposes only – not to diagnose or treat. Chicken Vet Corner’s Chicken Talk is not responsible for any harm that may come to your birds.


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