Sunday, April 11, 2010

23. Biosecurity in poultry farms - Part 2


Hi Dr Sing!

Thank you for your comments. I have re-written my essay but i'm still not very sure if i'm on the right track. Should I put it as "I am the farmer" point of view, or a general point of view? And how do i link the different farm systems? Have i done it correctly?

Poultry Assignment 2010

“It is difficult for people to catch H5N1 bird flu, but when they do, it can be deadly, (Reuters, 2010).” Bird flu is one of the main concerns of the poultry industry leading to massive economic losses in farms. For example, in December 2008, authorities found H5N1 in a chicken at a poultry farm in Hong Kong, prompting the slaughter of more than 90,000 birds (AFP, 2009). Such diseases can be prevented by implementing biosecurity measures.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF BIOSECURITY? Is it just purely disease prevention?

Diseases can be introduced to poultry farms through people, poultry, contaminated premises or equipment and vectors. The type of biosecurity measures to be implemented depends on whether I am operating a free range farm, barn layer system or a conventional caged farm. Some preventive procedures can apply to all systems, while others are specifically to one or two.

For any type of the three farm systems mentioned above, the following measures must be implemented. Firstly, newly arrived or sick birds must be quarantined to prevent transmission of diseases to the healthy flock.

Secondly, routine vaccinations will be given to all chickens to prevent a particular disease by triggering the bird’s immune system to produce antibodies that in turn fight the invading causal organisms (PoultryHub, 2009). For example, vaccines such as live (V4) vaccine and in ovo Mareks Disease Vaccination are commercially used.

Thirdly, I will oversee that visitor hygiene measures are strictly abided by. Signage and gates will be put up to discourage unauthorized individuals from entering the farm (PoultryHub, 2009). Visitors and service providers must wear overalls and boots that will be provided and foot washing baths will be available at the entrance of each shed for disinfection prior to entry (PoultryHub, 2009). I will also ensure that movement of people will be scheduled such that the youngest flocks are visited first and the oldest last (PoultryHub, 2009).

Fourthly, minimizing fear and anxiety in the birds to reduce their stress level will help the birds’ natural protective mechanisms to function optimally (PoultryHub, 2009). Also, using good quality feed is particularly important as bacteria and mould may be present in poor quality feed (PoultryHub, 2009).

Fifth, I will ensure that daily inspection is done on the birds; any sick or dead birds must be removed immediately to prevent the spread of bacteria or virus.

The following are measures related to specific farm systems. If I were to operate a conventional cage or barn layer systems, thus I will ensure that a good ventilation system is installed as birds are confined to a very small area and are thus very susceptible to any air borne diseases.

If I were to operate a free range farm system, I will wire net the barns to make them bird proof (PoultryHub, 2009), discourage wild birds from visiting by removing any spilled feed immediately (deGraft-Hanson, 2002) and by sanitizing water for bird consumption (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010). I will also ensure good fencing to prevent rodents from gaining access which may contaminate poultry feed.

In conclusion, it is important to know what type of farm system is used and implement the right measure to protect the birds against potential sources of diseases.



Excellent report. Easy to understand and I don't fall asleep reading it. I think you have a gift for research writing.

You should look at the question and you will know the answer. I believe the question was "What aspects of the biosecurity program would you put in place to protect my poultry farm against the 4 potential sources of diseases? I don't know how many poultry housing systems there are in this world as I am out of the poultry line for at least 30 years. The only birds I see recently are those common black and white ones and crows in Perth.

I believe poultry has two types of housing systems - the indoor and outdoor (free ranging systems). How to link them? You have had done it.

I remember some points which may be relevant to biosecurity too.
1. Good record keeping of biosecurity measures and writing manual of standard operating procedures for hygiene controls.
2. Review of breaches of biosecurity and learn from them, sharing knowledge with managers.
3. Regular education program for new employees and staff on biosecurity measures
4. CCTV and alarm systems for expensive breeding stock?
5. Veterinary post-mortem of sick birds, blood test to check effectiveness of vaccination, health surveillance of random samples regularly.
6. Keep up research and good writing. Be hands on. Go and visit real poultry farms! Dog farms, fish farms, alpacca farms etc and you will see biosecurity in action. Study hard. Best wishes.

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