What Is Biosecurity?
Broadly speaking, biosecurity is a set of procedures intended to protect humans or animals against disease or harmful biological agents. For any biosecurity system to be effective, it is important that all measures are clearly communicated and strictly adhered to by all that enter your premise.
The most common ways disease-causing microorganisms spread are through contaminated equipment, clothing and footwear. Transportation equipment will transport diseases as well which can spread disease from flock to flock. Wild animals, like rodents and wild birds, can be sources of disease just like our household pets such as dogs and cats. Disease-causing microbes have been found in human hair, on the skin, and on clothing. These microbes can even be transmitted, albeit infrequently, in the air.
Basic Poultry Biosecurity Protocols
Microorganisms carried by humans represent one of the largest and most common threats to your biosecurity. To help reduce the chance of accidentally introducing microorganisms on to your facility, you should limit the number of guests you allow and make sure that any visitors who need to be on site are provided with the correct PPE such as boots, overalls and gloves.
Make sure you keep a record of who has been on site. This can be a critical means of identifying who may have introduced microorganisms, should a problem arise. Typically, visitors should have had no contact with other poultry for between 48-72 hours. Use of boot washes such as the Quill Boot Dip at entrances is an effective strategy to element the risk of transmitting diseases.
Visits to Other Farms
You should avoid visiting other poultry facilities if at all possible. If a visit is necessary, a waiting period of 48-72 hours is standard. Additionally, showering and changing clothes before arriving is critical. While there, ensure you are wearing the correct PPE such as overalls, gloves and boots. Upon returning home, ensure you change, clean, and disinfect your clothing. Following biosecurity protocols at both facilities is essential.
Keep Animals Out
Since animals can carry disease-causing microorganisms, dogs, cats, and any other domestic animal should be kept out of the poultry facility.
Mice and rats are often the cause of a disease spreading and every measure should be taken to make sure they cannot enter your poultry areas. To help eliminate this problem, we recommend regularly emptying your bins and making sure you don’t leave anything unnecessary lying around that could attract a rodent. Keeping grass and all other vegetation short around the facility is also important, as tall grass is a habitat for rodents.
Avoiding Wild Birds
Although tricky to avoid at times, wild birds like geese, turkey, and ducks should likewise be avoided if at all possible. Ponds that attract wild birds often contain faeces that can carry disease.
Keeping Track of your Birds Daily
Ensure that any dead birds are immediately removed and disposed of in an approved manner. Not doing so increases the risk of spreading disease and contamination from decomposing carcasses by scavenging rodents and insects. Any increase in mortality should be immediately reported to your vet. Amongst everything else, you need to ensure you are vaccinating your birds regularly. If you are in the surrounding counties to Dorset, Quill Productions are a registered veterinary practice and are happy to answer any questions you may have on your poultry and game birds.
Clean, pure water is becoming increasingly scarce around the world. No matter where we live, our water sources are being contaminated with a growing number of toxins, from pesticides and fertilisers to cryptosporidium cysts and heavy metals. Investing in a good Water Sanitising System will enhance your animals’ performance. We recommend the Quill Water Sanitising System which uses a variety of technologies to help clean and filter your water, making it safer and healthier for your animals. The Quill Water Sanitising System is accurate and precise and does not require water pressure or a lot of flow to work efficiently. It uses a water meter that picks up the flow of the water and delivers a pulse to the dosing pump. The dosing pump is easily adjustable and works by taking product neat from a bottle without needing to mix any solutions together. Click here to read the full description.
Not only is good bio security essential to keeping your animals healthy enabling them to grow better, reproduce more efficiently and produce more economically valuable products but you need to be able to recognise the symptoms of disease. Knowing the signs and detecting them early can be critical to slow or stop the spread of disease. If birds display any of the following signs, please contact a vet immediately:
- Coughing, wheezing, or sneezing
- Nasal discharge
- Purple discoloration of wattles, combs, and legs
- Swelling of the head, eyes, comb, wattles, or hocks
- Soft-shelled eggs or misshapen eggs
- Decreased egg production
- Lack of energy and/or appetite
- Sudden or excessive mortality
Biosecurity is a serious matter. Having a series of strict protocols, making sure all employees understand and follow them, and educating the general public about the devastating effects of disease are measures poultry facilities should follow to safeguard their bottom lines and public health.