Biosecurity and Protecting Your Farm

Everyone in the poultry industry is familiar with biosecurity. However, we all are guilty of inconsistently following farm protocols. At the same time, we know how important it is to keep biosecurity at the top of our daily farm checklists. Biosecurity is easy to overlook when things seem to be going well, yet when disease and other pathogens infect our flocks, we consider making improvements.

Daily biosecurity tips that you can use on your farm to mitigate disease pressure are as follows:
• Make sure personal protection equipment (PPE) is worn in all barns, and specific to that barn.
• Establish a clear line of separation or Danish entry into your barns. Keep shoes and clothes on the designated side of the biosecure line.
• Foot baths in and out of barns. Disinfect boots worn in barns before and after doing chores.
• Eliminate unnecessary traffic in or around your barns. Make sure people coming and going have enough time away from other flocks before they get to your farm.
• Manage rodents, so they are not an issue. Have good fresh bait, ensure weeds and grass are well kept, and seal holes and/or cracks in the barn to keep rodents out.
• Be mindful of where and who you have been in contact with when you leave your farm.
• Have designated vehicles and clothing worn only around your farm.
• Every time you go in and out of your barn, remember the phrase “what’s in is in and what’s out is out!”

These are a few daily reminders and tips for your basic biosecurity plan. It is essential to have a written plan and stick to it. Do not get complicit and overlook the easy things you can do as growers to keep those flocks safe and thriving.

This spring, High Path Avian Influenza (HPAI) hit our poultry farms in the upper Midwest. Its attack was fast and furious, and some farms were forced to euthanize their entire flock. While this is a grower’s worst nightmare, it may not be the last time we see an outbreak like it. HPAI can spread through bird to bird direct contact or indirectly, such as being introduced to your farm via contaminated surfaces on vehicles, equipment, or people. Migrating waterfowl can also spread HPAI.

Many growers have crop fields and or ponds near their poultry barns. This is concerning, as migrating waterfowl are looking for feed and rest on their way North or South, and crop residue can offer them great accommodations. We need to keep wild birds from these places. Work with your local DNR to determine the best methods to discourage wild birds from landing in these places.

As growers, we often think disasters won’t happen to us. However, they can and likely will at some point. One way to protect your farm is by placing a high priority on biosecurity. Control the factors within your power by limiting what goes in and out of your barns, and what comes on and goes off your farm. If you have any questions about how your biosecurity plan is or isn’t working, we would be happy to help!

Robert Hoiten, Field Marketer – Sioux Nation Ag Center