A clean farm is the basis for success

A clean farm is the basis for success

Healthy birds are a prerequisite for being productive animals, whether they produce meat or eggs. That starts with a clean farm clean. A comprehensive biosecurity program will be the foundation for raising healthy flocks.

By Ad Bal

It is a given fact that poultry is highly susceptible to diseases. If an infection arises, it never is related to one single bird, but will affect the entire flock. A feared example is highly contagious bird flu, officially named avian influenza, which strikes the poultry industry across the world time and time again.  An outbreak of bird flu or any other infectious disease can easily happen. Some of these have a survival period of just hours to days, other may last up to even months. A contagious and particularly zoonotic disease is not just harming poultry. Also it may seriously impact  human health. After all, poultry products end up in the food chain and thus influences the health status of food products from this origin. In the event of a highly contagious disease , there is no other way but culling many flocks and taking temporary measures to get the disease under control again. This usually happens. Preventive measures are of course the best way to avoid such an outbreak. Although that’s not always possible, as wild birds can be vectors of diseases. They may transmit an infection through their droppings. Also there are other transmitters like small animals (rodents), who can easily find their way into poultry houses. And don’t forget vehicles and humans who can carry pathogens with them onto a farm operation and from house to house on the premises.

Strong standards
Eventually, it all comes down to reducing pathogens at farm level as much as possible. Preferably down to zero, or at least as closest to zero as possible. That means setting strong standards in terms of farm lay-out and design, a clean environment, discipline among farm staff and being very critical in allowing visitors to enter the premises. First of all, a proper fence around the entire operation should keep everyone away as long as there is no reason for them and they are not allowed to enter the site. All gates at all sites should be kept locked at all times. And if visitors do have entry permission, every vehicle should pass through a sanitation gate, in the best case including cleaning and showering the entire vehicle. 

All vehicles that are entering a farm, must pass through a sanitation gate

Visitors and personnel must wear proper and clean clothing and shoes. Before entering the premises and houses, shoe disinfection at the entrance is essential. Then there is the lay-out of the site. The less obstacles, the better. A house which is surrounded by nothing, is far better than trees or bushes around. This discourages rodents and other small animals to roaming around. Hence they will stay away. And if yet any rodents are present, traps are advisable. Put them in strategic spots, such as alongside the walls of a poultry house. And make sure that all the vegetation around the house is permanently kept as short as possible.

Preferably the entire farm should be surrounded by a fence, preventing unwanted visitors to enter the premises
If in rural areas no fence is available, at least a clear sign may...

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