Biosecurity in poultry farm is a set of innovative practices designed to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious diseases into and from a poultry farm. Diseases are detrimental factors to the success of any poultry farm; it greatly reduces the productivity, profitability and long term financial viability of a poultry farm.
Most times, these diseases occur as a result of carelessness or mismanagement of the poultry farm; it is very possible to have a disease free poultry farming experience, if proper precautions are taken and put to action. Biosecurity of poultry farm entails the adoption of a set of attitudes and behaviors by people to reduce risk and mishaps in all activities involved in poultry production and management.
A disease does not suddenly evade a farm; it has an incubated agent called pathogen. There are basically four(4) pathogens affecting poultry production, they are:
Each of them causes some diseases that tend to dwindle a successful poultry farm.
Viruses are responsible for diseases like: Newcastle, Gumboro, Avian influenza; the Bacteria are responsible for the outbreak of diseases like: Fowl cholera, E. Coli etc. ; Fungi are responsible for the outbreak of diseases like: Aspargilosis, Mould, Mycotoxins etc. Lastly, the Protozoa are responsible for the outbreak of diseases like :Coccidiosis, Intestinal worms, Lice and Mites. They are great threat to poultry farm.
How do they manage to enter a poultry house?
These pathogens have carriers; these carriers actually introduce them into the poultry farm before they initiate a disease condition. These carriers are;
• Pests: like rodents, flies, etc.
• Sick birds or carcasses of infected birds.
• People, through footwear and clothing.
• Contaminated feed bags, litter materials and egg trays.
• Contaminated equipment.
• Impure feed, water or air.
• Day old chicks infected in the hatchery or from breeders.
The aforementioned routes of pathogens to the farm are very common and consciously or unconsciously, they have the possibilities of reaching the farm. This necessitates the need of biosecurity measures in any poultry farm for every prudent farmer.
Biosecurity measures should prevent disease-causing agents from entering the farm by keeping potentially infected animals and contaminated objects away from healthy poultry farm. This is a part of the importance of biosecurity measures in poultry farming. Biosecurity is the most effective and the cheapest way to protect your birds from diseases.
What are the required biosecurity procedures in poultry production?
Formation of barriers is what you need to implement biosecurity plan in your farm; these barriers are either physical or conceptual. There are three elements of biosecurity, they are:
1. Segregation and traffic control.
Segregation and traffic control
This is the most effective and strongest form of biosecurity in poultry farm, where all efforts should be placed. It is the prevention of the disease-causing agent or carrier from entering the farm by keeping potentially infected animals and contaminated objects, such as: clothing, footwear, equipment etc. away from the farm.
This requires formation of barriers, physical or conceptual. These barriers are:
• Physical barrier: That is, lock on door, fence and gate.
• Temporal barrier: This means a time break or stipulated time for farm visit.
• Procedural: This involves washing hands and feet, changing footwear and outer clothes, vehicles kept off the farm.
The locks prevent unauthorized people from entering into the farm, thus, reducing the risk or incidence of disease outbreak or transmission. Screened walls or windows prevent contact of poultry birds in the pen with wild and domesticated birds from outside.
You can as well devise strict segregation and traffic control measures like:
• All workers and visitors must wash hands and feet with soap before entering the pen.
• All workers and visitors must change their clothes or wear cover clothes and footwear before entering the pen.
• All workers or visitors must clean and disinfect their footwear between sheds by using a foot-bath or change footwear.
• All poultry equipment must be disinfected after use and before introducing to the farm.
• Selling poultry products directly at the farm gate.
• Sorting eggs into trays to be taken out of the farm only.
• Vehicles should be parked outside the farm area.
• Never keep birds of different species together in the same pen. In case you don’t know, water fowl like ducks are often silent carrier of avian influenza or Newcastle disease.
• Use of warning signs to control movements in the farm should be adopted.
• Allow simultaneous depopulation of facilities between flocks and periodic cleanup and disinfection of all pens and equipment to reduce infection pressure or break the cycle of diseases.
• Do not add new birds directly to the flock, always quarantine to understudy the birds.
Cleaning is another effective step, where all dirt is removed. Cleaning of poultry equipment and facilities is another way to ensure the farm is free from any contaminants. Cleaning requires efforts: scrubbing, brushing and high pressure washing with detergent and water.
All equipment such as: syringes, egg trays, feeders and drinkers; should be washed and sun dried on a regular basis. Farm apparels including cloths and footwear should be washed
This is the last element of biosecurity in poultry farm where all surviving pathogens are eliminated. To ensure effective disinfection, you must ensure:
• You remove all dirt during cleaning process.
• You use only approved disinfectant.
• You prepare the disinfectant solution in correct proportion.
• You apply disinfectant in prescribed concentration to ensure effective contact time and to cover the entire surface.
Necessary precautions have to be taken during disinfection because some disinfectants are injurious. Some of these precautions are:
• Avoid eating during the process.
• Cover your face and body as much as possible to avoid direct contact with the chemical.
• Do not spray during the rain.
• Do not talk while disinfecting.
All these are crucial aspect of poultry production and in great need of cogent attention. The cost of medication is very high when diseases surface; it greatly increases in the cost of production leaving the farmer with little or no profit. Biosecurity is a very cheap measure to prevent disease outbreaks and running a stress free farming business.