University of Maryland Extension

Biosecurity

Biosecurity includes management practices that prevent the entrance of disease-producing germs (pathogens) into the flock and into neighboring flocks. There are several biosecurity measures that must be taken:

1) purchase healthy stock

2) keep your birds confined using pasture coops or fencing

3) keep dirty equipment and materials from other flocks away from yours

4) do not mix species of birds

5) medicate properly and follow directions

6) keep unfamiliar people and others who might be carriers of disease away from your birds

7) control vermin, such as rats and mice

8) practice an insect-control program

9) keep pen areas weed and debris free and keep buildings in good repair

10) keep new birds, sick birds, and birds returning from shows and swap meets isolated from the rest of the flock

11) wear dedicated clothing and footwear only around your birds – do not wear dedicated clothing off your property

12) wash hands before and after handling birds. Rely on professionals such as veterinarians, Extension educators, animal health suppliers (those who sell vaccines and medicines) and universities, for educational materials and help.


Pathogens have many hiding places and numerous ways of spreading from flock to flock. Table 6 provides a few examples of their pervasiveness and persistency. Management strategies that block these pathogens include: isolation from other types of wild or domestic mammals or birds, confinement in secure houses, and rules you make and enforce to keep potentially contaminated items from other flocks away from your birds. Footwear and clothing, farm equipment, or anything that may have been in contact with someone else’s birds can be considered “potentially contaminated.” Remember, good biosecurity not only protects your own birds, it also helps to protect the birds---and in some cases the income---of others.

 

Table 6. Examples of places pathogens hide and ways they spread to your flock
Hiding Places/Ways of spread Diseases produced
Free-flying migratory birds and waterfowl

Avian influenza (bird flu)

Chlamydiosis (ornithosis)

Wild or Domestic mammals (raccoons, cattle, etc.) Pasteurellosis (fowl cholera)
Soil and pasture land Avian tuberculosis
Rodent droppings Salmonellosis
Mosquitos Encephalitis in pheasants and other game birds
Puddles or pools of muddy water Botulism, especially in waterfowl and game birds
Earthworms Gapeworm, cecal worm infestations and Histomoniasis
Crates and boxes previously holding poultry Laryngotracheitis, Newcastle Disease and most other types of avian respiratory infections
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