“Biosecurity” is derived from “Biological Security”. It simply means “what do we have to do to keep diseases from entering a poultry farm”. In commercial poultry farms, the risk of disease outbreaks is high and can result in significant economic loss for the farmer. A major disease outbreak can result in loss of flock and employment hence biosecurity is critical to food and job security.
Poor or absent disease control strategies and inadequate management practices result in high levels of baseline mortality due to predators (e.g. rodents, snakes, small carnivores) or infectious diseases (e.g. Newcastle Disease (ND), salmonellosis, Gumboro disease or fowl typhoid).
Biosecurity has three major components: Isolation, Traffic Control and Sanitation.
Isolation: The most important step in disease control is to minimize commingling of flock.
Traffic Control includes minimizing contacts with possible carriers and infectious agents or animals and eliminating sources of infection.
Sanitation addresses the disinfection of materials, people and equipments entering the operation and cleanliness of the people and equipment on the operation.
Of all the possible breakdowns in biosecurity, the introduction of new birds into an existing flock, contaminated clothing and contaminated foot traffic pose the greatest risk to bird health. Properly managing these three factors should be a top priority.
Early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease. Lookout for changes in eating, drinking, behavioral habits, and for signs and sounds of respiratory distress.
Because of the destructive potential that a contagious poultry disease can have on a commercial industry and small flocks alike, poultry owners are encouraged to adopt the following management practices:
- Prevent all wild birds from coming in contact with the flock. Ornamental birds should not be allowed at the farm.
- New birds pose a greater risk to flock health because their disease status is often unknown. Purchase new stock from reputable dealers – it is always risky to buy birds whose disease history is unknown.
- Fence off your farm, put a gate to avoid entry of strangers into your farm, put a visitor’s logbook and foot bath at the gate/entrance and always replenish the foot bath..
- Spray every vehicle entering your farm.
- Wear dedicated footwear that can be sanitized after every visit when attending to your birds.
- Do not share equipment, tools, or poultry supplies with neighbouring poultry farms. If you do, clean and disinfect them thoroughly before they are used on your farm.