Biosecurity in Poultry Prepared Humans for Covid 19

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As the government continues to exercise the stay-at-home order, people are keeping safe by implementing some of the biosecurity steps. The thing is that some of these steps are commonly associated with poultry biosecurity.

Various authors advise that before birds are stocked, it is very essential they are kept in cages or any other preferred housing types according to their ages and species. Due to the differences in their immunity levels, it is not recommended to keep them mixed.  In essence, what some chicks maybe immuned, others may be suceptible to. Hygiene and housekeeping ensure that the birds are protected from spread of disease. Disinfectants must be used to sanitize the litter and must be kept clean and dry at all times. When breast blisters and foot pad dermatitis are seen on birds, this is a direct effect of pathogens in the litter.

Several articles and presentations regarding poultry health and management have been written; this is still a key focus in poultry production and the livestock industry, making it a knowledgeable source.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many recommendations floating around about how individuals should protect themselves, many of which have reminded me of biosecurity steps taken on a poultry farm.

We have all been told to stay home and minimize gatherings. Poultry farms do this daily by documenting the number of people that come in and out of the farms or enter the pen houses.

I read something this morning that said individuals should take their clothes off in the garage and shower as soon as they get home. This sounds a lot like the shower-in, shower-out method used in many farms. Not to mention, we have all seen posters and write-ups about proper handwashing after having contact with animals, and those tips could be useful to consumers now.

We were also informed that the virus could be carried on your shoes for multiple days. Perhaps families should consider using some foot bath, or foot dip is obtainable in many farms.

Processing plants have mastered the cleaning process between shifts; could these methods be useful in helping families clean their homes more frequently?

Poultry Biosecurity Plan

Before investing into buying disinfectants, it is essential that the farmer follows the next 12 principles to prepare a poultry biosecurity plan.

  1. An employee of the farm should be trained and designated as the biosecurity officer.
  2. A log showing the frequency of trainings and pep talks organized within the farm should be kept to keep track of capacity built within the farm.
  3. The areas of the farm that have been disinfected should be differentiated from the non-disinfected areas to ensure that cross contamination is controlled. Foot baths should also be sited at the area demarcating the “clean” area from the “unclean” area.
  4. The perimeter buffer areas such as hot and cold or clean and unclean areas should be boldly marked.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment should be accessible to al workers and visitors on the farm premises.
  6. Plans should be put in place to control the enterance of disease carrying organisms like insects, rodents, wild birds and even pets from entering the house.
  7. For Farms that share equipment like debeaking tools, they should be sanitized and sterilized before usage.
  8. It is important to provide a mortality management plan. This makes provision for how dead animals are handles.
  9. The plan should also include how organic waste and food debris are managed to ensure that disease outbreaks are controlled.
  10. Old stock of birds should not be mixed with new bird stocks. There has to be a disinfection step between the breeder farm and the production area
  11. Periodically, the water source should be analysed for heavy metals, microbs and agrochemicals to ensure that it remains safe for consumption.
  12. New litter and feed should be packaged and delivered in such a way that risk of disease transmission is minimized.

In selecting the most appropriate type of disinfectant to use, some factors need to be considered. the choice of the farmer will depend on factors like cost, means of transportation, proximity to market, and access to professional advice. Sanitation (disinfectant) products can be broken up into the following active ingredients:

  • Formaldehyde gas
  • Formaldehyde powder
  • Alkali (lye)
  • Phenols
  • Hypochlorites (chlorine)
  • Iodophors (iodine)
  • Quaternary ammonium
  • Chlorhexidine (Nolvasan)

I am sure I am only touching the surface of possibilities here. Anyway, we have to continue to execute the stay home order and stay committed to biosecurity measures to combat this pandemic. See you on my next post!


Deven King

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