Biosecurity is not an expense, it is a necessity!
Has passed those good old times when chicken growers used to make a lot of money without really paying attention to the very basic of poultry industry, for maintaining a good health. Throughout the world there has been a tremendous growth in the poultry industry and at the same time a significant increase in the incidence of serious disease outbreaks in many integrations in the five continents. Why this occurs? We see such an increase because of the very simple factor that many of the poultry growers still do not understand that if very simple biosecurity regulations are not implemented CORRECTLY at various operations, it is going to be quite difficult to grow healthy birds and would be even more difficult to stay in business for a long time. Here we will discuss why there is such a rise in disease outbreaks in many countries and consequently increasing medication and production costs making it quite difficult in stay in business.
Ease of production and consumer concerns: Poultry products like eggs and broiler meat are quite cheap to produce are very likable, healthy, and tasty and there are no religious or cultural barriers for these products. In any country that you visit it is quite difficult not to notice the presence of poultry product promotions in every corner and neighborhood. That is good news for both the producer and the consumer, but has its drawbacks. Biosecurity, hygiene, cleanliness, salmonella and other bacteria free products have become the media news headlines. The consumers are being scared for anything; supermarkets and consumers are dictating what is the direction of our business. The media craze has reached its heights in Europe after the Mad Cow Disease, Avian Influenza in Hong Kong and Dioxin fiasco contamination. Use of some common antibiotics have been banned and more restrictions to follow. The same trends are to reach American continent sooner or later. Remember that in this business bad news spreads very quick and good things do not last much, if there is no respect for the biosecurity matters. Many large integrations around the world have been able to survive and increase production with good results through solid biosecurity measures, and not sacrificing the birds comfort for theirs. We must realize that the ease of production is possible only if the birds are raised in clean houses. Frequent visitors should be discouraged, otherwise the visitor no matter of what rank in the company must and change clothes, take showers, or use adequate coveralls, etc.
Biosecurity phases: In reality the implementation of biosecurity can be divided into three distinct phases, 1] the Concept, 2] Education, 3] Full implementation of the whole chain.
1. Understand the concept: In a very simple practical language explain to all the concept of why there is a need to implement a solid biosecurity plan. Your first meetings must include all the general managers from different divisions. These would include breeder farms, hatchery, broiler and layer farms, live haul, processing plant and the feedmill. The cooperation of all these departments is extremely important for the success of the program. Present seminar type meeting with real data and clear guides. For starting a good biosecurity program, there should not be any doubts in anybody’s mind. After the concept has been explained very clearly to all the managers, make larger meetings with the supervisors and discuss the concept and give more detailed information about the program. The same training then should trickle down to all other employees of the farms including all the details. Explain the concept might sound easy, but at times in companies that do not have any biosecurity plan can be very difficult to explain and be convincing, but persistence pays off. Do not stop insisting on what we know has worked successfully. All must understand that biosecurity is not an extra expense, but a wise investment and can make a difference between success and failure.
2. Educate: After the concept has been quite clear for everybody it is time to establish a continuous plan to educate all whom have been involved in producing the eggs or the meat. Nobody should be missed in the integration, thus there will not be hearing comments that they have not told or they did not know about it. One way to clear doubts and be sure your words reach everybody is to write up a manual where every step of the biosecurity plan is clearly outlined for each department in a very simple language.
3. Full implementation of the plan: If the first two phases have been understood 90% of the job is done. When the concept has been cleared and all have been educated, really nothing else does matter. Now there is a high quality team in place scary away the unwanted pathogen microorganisms. This dedicated team to keeping the birds the healthiest know very clearly that following the basic rules discussed below is the key for success:
Location: Before constructing any farm, look around and find a biosecure location for the farm, which is far from any other poultry, or other animal farms. The selected site must be far from the poultry feed and processing plant. The more isolated the farm, the less will the risks of disease outbreaks.
Purchase a big site: The advantage of building farms far from cities and other activities is the land is going to be cheaper, thus it is strongly recommended to acquire bigger land than it is necessary. By doing this the farm can be built right in the center of the lot, avoid the neighbors around and keep distance from any activity.
Do not over build: One of the major problems that most poultry growers fell into, that want to pack as many as farms in the same lot, losing control of the very simple biosecurity rules, having less age variation in close farm vicinities. It is strongly recommended avoid cramming too many farms in a lot that was designed for less farms.
Avoid unwanted visitors: It is said that in 99% of the cases people are the main culprits to transmit diseases from one farm to other. The farm managers should realize that visitors could come from an infected farm that visited prior and infect this farm specially if entered without taking biosecurity shower or completely change clothes. Avoid taking visitors that want to sell you products at the farms; do not take sales persons to the farms. In majority of cases they can be more harmful than helpful to your birds. Talk business at the office rather than in the farm, if they must visit the farm, request that have not visited any farm at least for one week prior to visiting your instaltion.
Biosecurity does not recognize bosses: Frequent visitor should be discouraged. The visitors no matter of what rank in the company must (maximum boss or the farm administrator) should shower if necessary and change clothes, or uses adequate coveralls and disinfect boots. Biosecurity does not know borders and does not distinguish whom the boss.
Make farm entrance difficult by taking these simple measures:
• Don’t enter alert signs: Place do not enter signs at the door that clearly states unauthorized visitors are not welcomed
• Lock up the door: At all times the farm entrance should be closed and only the farm manager should have the key to the farm
• Shower: Most breeder farms in many countries use showers before entering the farm. Remember that the shower must be kept clean at all times and visitors entering the farm have taken a good shower with soap and plenty of hot water. Some companies even use showers to visit layer and broiler farms. The important message here is to follow the rules that are established by your organization. I have seen places that have installed showers, but not everybody follows the rules.
• Use coverall and boots: One simple biosecurity measure that can prevent spread of diseases among farms is changing the street clothes to clean coveralls and disinfected boots. After each visit the coverall should be washed with hot water and detergent.
• Disinfect boots: Before entering the farm be sure the boot’s sole is free from organic matters washing with water, and then disinfect it with a reliable disinfectant using a hard brush and before leaving the farm do the same.
• Keep a log: If possible keep a log of all the visitors that enter the farm. This gives you a reliable source of information and better control of all the visitors that have entered the farm during a specific period.
All in All out: This is quite basic and we have heard it many times, but the question how effectively this simple biosecurity principle is enforced? Having one age bird in one farm or various farms in one complex reduces many complexities in vaccinations, respiratory, rolling reaction problems, feeding programs and live haul. This principle is even more important for layer and breeder farms.
Checklist: Have a disciplinary clean up check out laboratory report. After the farm has been broomed, dusted, washed, and disinfected, have your lab technician run some plate tests for fungus and bacteria. If farm is declared unsuitable to receive birds, it must be re-disinfected again.
Control wild birds: Be sure there is no access or opening to the wild bird and the building is bird proof. Regularly check the wire mesh screens, doors, air inlets, and outlet preventing bird entrance to the house.
Solid rodent proof: Have an established proven rodent control program that routinely is monitored and effectively implemented.
Wash and disinfect well: When a farm to be disinfected be sure that all the steps have been taken in order as established in the original plan. It is important not to skip any part of the process. For example a farm must be totally washed, before being disinfected, and not vice versa.
Use the right disinfectants: Be sure the product used to disinfect the farm has the right doses and active agent. The water quality should be optimum for not reducing its effectiveness and when diluted to be sprayed with adequate amount of pressure to penetrate the hard to reach places.
Have frequent down times: Many field data have shown that the more down time is applied to a farm, the better will be the results. It is recommended to place at least 14 to 21 days between the flocks, and even better if the farm could be completely or partially (litter change) cleaned to reduce contamination level. However, if a farm has suffered a disease outbreak it is absolutely necessary to do a complete clean up and at least one month of down time.
Eliminate mortality: birds that die while growing or in production must have a reason, at times it is normal, while in many occasions could be due to some respiratory problems, heart attack, heat related mortality, E. coli infection or even could be due to a disease outbreak. Each farm complex no matter the size must have adequate means to eliminate the daily mortality everyday in a very proper manner. There are many methods to eliminate mortality, like hauling them away everyday, have pit holes in each farm, incinerate on site, or keep them in air conditioned chambers and be taken away once a week. A new healthy and pro-environment method to eliminate mortality could be composting the carcasses and use the end product as fertilizer. Mortalities if not disposed off adequately can become the #1 hazard for the birds in the complex and as well for the neighboring poultry farmers.
To conclude we must realize all the poultry growers in the district; province, state, country, continent and the planet earth must practice that biosecurity where the poultry growers manage more than 30 billion birds. We have explained some the basics of a solid biosecurity plan, but not all the details were discussed. The list of matters falling into a spotless biosecurity plan can go on forever, but as long as the principals have been cleared to all, each one of us can determine what the best biosecurity plan is for each operation that we work in. With the flow of information, Internet and expansion of the world market, it is going to be quite hard to hide and ignore good biosecurity management practice. You should remember biosecurity is implemented as a preventive action.