Biosecurity is the cheapest and most effective hygienic defensive procedure against diseases and infections on poultry farms. In poultry practice, it has been advised by experts that biosecurity is significant to having a modern production with little hassles on disease control and mortality prevention. Diseases and infections have been a major stronghold hindering profitability in poultry farm business. Asides proper feeding and water quality, hygienic practices must be adequately put in place in to ensure a healthy poultry farm.
In order to make your farm free of diseases, the amount of exposure to outsiders must be checked. Speaking during a recent interview with FarmingFarmersFarms, the Chief Executive Officer of SDG Agric Consulting, and Survival Poultry Farms Services, Mr. Oluwatobiloba Oduntan, emphasised that biosecurity is a management procedure that must be integrated into the farm operations system, to guard against infections and diseases that come with the any season.
He said, “Biosecurity in poultry is a critical issue that a lot of farmers don’t pay attention to. These are measure you put in place to safeguard your poultry from intruders or vectors, which are carriers of infections. These carriers can be human or material carriers. When such materials are not properly cleaned, washed and disinfected from time to time, your farm can get infected. Some farmers don’t even know that the farm is not a place where you allow people to visit any how, whether they are known people or strangers. For instance, your friend that you invited to your farm might have walked around place where he might have unknowingly carried infections or bacteria; this would definitely affect your farm when he enters and probably touches the cage or feed or anything”.
He continued: “Some farmers also allow customers and visitors enter their farms, without disinfecting them, this could open doors for outbreak on your farm. I have realised over the years that most outbreaks are avoidable, if mitigated”. This is what is referred to as operational biosecurity, where breeder farms require all workers and visitors to shower and use clean farm clothes before delivering or taking anything from the flock. For instance, materials for egg packing must be continuously disinfected to ensure a continuous safe environment for the poultry.
Besides limiting the number of visitors to a farm, poultry breeders are also encouraged to refrain from visiting other poultry operations except it is very necessary. It is very necessary for growers to wear protective clothing including boots, overalls and headgear and to clean and disinfect all equipment before and after returning from the facilities. For an effective biosecurity management practice, animals such as pets, and other growers should be banned from entering your farm. Poultry houses/cages should also be kept closed at all times to prevent wild birds or animals or even rodents from getting inside. All these vectors could transmit diseases to your birds.
Location and spacing is also a part of biosecurity; known as structural biosecurity. It is not advisable to rear birds of different age group in the same house. Wherever possible, it is advisable to practise the all-in-all-out system. A poultry farm or cage, for instance, should not be sited where anyone can have access to. The farm or cage should be away from the major road or walkways that may be used often. Furthermore, there should be proper layout of houses, appropriate designing, spacing away from bush or fence, to prevent any entry of rodents, proper ventilation, and the designing of feeders and drinkers to avoid spillage are basic essentials in disease prevention.
Also, in a bid to prevent diseases from penetrating your poultry, you must avoid stressing your birds by isolating birds of different age groups from the same house. Also, the same breeds of poultry cannot be put together as these birds do not suffer same diseases. Oduntan, who has been in the poultry business for the past 10 years had this to say; “Someone might have a plot of land and just want to put all kinds of birds there without adequate spacing – that is wrong! No, it won’t work. These birds have different levels of resistance, and one would definitely affect the other because they have different diseases, which they are resistant to. And that is why before siting your farm and establishing your poultry, experts must be consulted to ensure biosecurity management”.
Above all, it is important for farmers to inspect their flock daily. This monitoring and proper checking often helps in detecting any bird, which is sick or already infected. Farm workers or growers should note and report any sign of health problems to their service representatives immediately before any disease spreads via rodents and insects or even feed. Timely reporting of health issues on a farm will not only help restrict additional infections, but will minimise losses to both the grower and the company. In summary, biosecurity is not a one-off practice, but rather, a daily procedure to ensure that diseases do not spread and an outbreak is securely guarded against in your flock.