University of Maryland Extension

BIOSECURITY Protects Your Birds

Protecting your investment is very important. Early detection and prevention is key to maintaining a healthy flock. It is much easier to prevent disease than to try and eliminate it. Having good biosecurity practices in place, aid in protecting your flock from disease. Biosecurity practices can be achieved while being both productive and profitable at the same time. It is an easy way to protect your birds from harm.

What is Biosecurity?

"Bio" means life. "Security" means protection.  Biosecurity is a set of measures designed that are practiced to prevent the spread of disease onto your property and into your flock. Biosecurity planning is a proactive approach to safeguarding the health and productivity of your flock. By having a plan set in place, you are protecting the life of your birds. Biosecurity can easily be incorporated into daily management practices. It is important to assess and periodically adjust your biosecurity practices as needed to your property and flock.

 

3 Major Requirements for Biosecurity

(Jeffrey, 1997)

1. Isolation

Confining your animals within a controlled environment. This includes keeping other animals out and locking doors on poultry houses (if applicable).

2. Traffic Control

Reducing the amount of traffic onto and around your farm. This includes not only motorized traffic but foot traffic as well!

3. Sanitation

Disinfecting materials, equipment, and people that work on your property.

Biosecurity is a work in progress. You should periodically assess your program and adjust your biosecurity practices as needed to the ever-changing risks (age of birds, types of birds on premises, amount of traffic onto and off property) for your property. Controlling the amount of traffic on your farm is one of the most inexpensive forms of biosecurity than can reduce the chance of disease transmission. Be sure to disinfect all materials, equipment, and people that work on your farm/property. By practicing good biosecurity, you can prevent the spread of disease from humans, vehicles, animals, carcasses, and other flocks that may be traveling onto and around the property.

Biosecurity signs posted at the entrance and around the perimeter of the farm, as well as on buildings and doors, will inform others of your goal of good biosecurity.  Below is a typical biosecurity sign. You can access a printable version (8.5" x 11" pdf) by clicking on the image of the sign.

Within a biosecurity program, there are two main factors that play an important role. These factors include both external measures to prevent entry of a new disease into your flock and internal measures to prevent the spread of disease within the flock to uninfected birds (Bowman et al., 2001). Using disinfectants and sanitation methods will aid in preventing the entry and spread of disease to your flock. Stay updated on which diseases are of concern in your area. Communicating with neighbors and local extension offices are essential resources for owners to have. They may also be able to help control unwanted animals on the farm, such as wild birds, wildlife, or rodents. By having a strong biosecurity program, you are securing a healthy life for your birds!

In conjunction with biosecurity, registering your birds with Maryland Department of Agriculture's
(MDA) Mandatory Poultry Registration is an excellent way to protect your small flock. Not only are you notified of any disease concerns along with any poultry regulation updates within the state, you are issued a premises ID number that you can use as a marketing tool with your customers. Your concern of the health of your birds will be conveyed to the buyer by registering with MDA.

References:

Bowman, L.G., and Shulaw, P.W. 2001 On-Farm Biosecurity: Traffic Control & Sanitation. The Ohio State University Extension. Factsheet VME-0005-01. http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0005.html (link is external). Accessed May 2008  

Jeffrey, J.S. 1997 Biosecurity for Poultry Flocks. University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vetext/INF-PO-Biosecurity.html (link is external). Accessed Fed. 2007.

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