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Biosecurity is the best method of avoiding disease. A good biosecurity program identifies and controls the most likely ways a disease could enter the farm. Human and equipment movement onto the farm should be strictly controlled. Visitors to the farm should be limited to those who are essential for its operation.

All visitors and workers should enter at a central location. Visitors should use a logbook to document their visits. Anyone having been on another poultry facility within 96 hours should not be permitted access. Clean boots, clothing, and head cover should be provided for everyone working or visiting the farm. Clean footbaths containing disinfectant should be placed outside the entries to all poultry houses. If possible, avoid using outside crews or equipment for vaccination, moving, and beak treatment. Ideally, workers should be limited to a single house. The number of flocks visited in 1 day should be limited, and always progressing from younger to older flocks, and from healthy to sick flocks. After visiting a sick flock, no other flocks should be visited. The removal of old hens from the farm is a time when disease can be introduced. The trucks and crews used to transport old hens have often been on other farms. A plan should be developed to minimize the biosecurity risk during times outside crews or equipment are needed for vaccination, moving pullets, and beak trimming.

A single-aged growing farm using the all-in/all-out principle is best. This will prevent the transmission of disease from older flocks to younger, susceptible flocks. All houses should be designed to prevent exposure of the flock to wild birds. Quickly and properly dispose of dead chickens. Rodents are known carriers of many poultry diseases and they are the most common reason for re-contamination of a cleaned and disinfected poultry facility. They are also responsible for house-to-house spread of disease on a farm. The farm should be free of debris and tall grass that might provide cover for rodents. The perimeter of the house should have a minimum of 1 m (3 ft) area of crushed rock or concrete to prevent rodents from burrowing into the houses. Feed and eggs should be stored in rodent-proof areas. Bait stations should be placed throughout the house and maintained with fresh rodenticide. The bait stations should be checked and re-baited regularly and numbered for identification of areas with more rodent activity than others. Cleaning and disinfection of the house between flocks serves to reduce the infection pressure for a new incoming flock. The house should be cleaned of organic matter by high pressure spraying with a warm water containing a detergent and disinfectant. Allow time for the detergent to soak. After drying, the house should be disinfected or fumigated and allowed to dry again before repopulating with birds.

Heating the house during washing improves the removal of organic matter. Wash the upper portion of the house before the pit. Thoroughly clean the air inlets, fan housing, fan blades and fan louvers. Flush and sanitize the water lines. All feed and manure should be removed from the housing before cleaning. Allow a minimum of 2 weeks downtime between flocks. Monitoring of poultry houses for the presence of Salmonella, particularly Salmonella enteritidis, is recommended. This can be done by routine testing of the environment.


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