Biosecurity in Poultry Health Management
Biosecurity includes all the measures that are taken to prevent infection to individual, material and environment from the pathogens in particular and disease spreading agents like rodents, wild birds, predators, visitors, intentional mishandlers (bioterrorism) and disposal systems etc. These are likely to carry pathogens and transmit through contact with birds on the farm. Before allowing the essential inanimate objects including feed and water, proper sterilization and disinfection procedures are adopted. Since disease management by eradication is difficult and expensive, biosecurity is the most efficient and cost-effective option for disease prevention and control.
For adopting biosecurity, one has to assess the risk and threats to the poultry units along with the possible points of entry. The nature of the pathogens, particularly their ability to survive in the environment and sensitivity to various environment friendly disinfectants is also to be considered. The next measure is to use various vaccinations (wherever applicable) thereby allowing immunity in the birds to take care of the infections. The use of disinfections and antiseptics in general and antibiotics, antiparasitic and antiviral drugs in specific cases also helps in prevention and control of infections. The following key biosecurity areas need to be considered for disease control and poultry health management.
Managemental practices: Biosecurity in organized poultry farming systems is easy to control than backyard system. Mixed populations, environmental stress, non- availability of balanced feeds, and easy access to source of infection are all disadvantages of backyard poultry and reasons for limited success of biosecurity. Similarly, recovered birds, spent hens, multiple age groups should not be kept near production birds.
Control over entry: In organized farms daily workers, suppliers and visitors enter the poultry premises. Pathogens may be present on their body, clothing and footwear.
Entry restrictions, change of footwear and cloths and use of general disinfectants are the basic rule of biosecurity. The transport vehicles should not have access in or near to the farm. If unavoidable, it should be sprayed with appropriate disinfectant.
Aerosols: Neighboring farms, insects, houseflies carry several infections either directly or via aerosols. General hygiene and cleanliness, proper disposal of dead birds, farm-waste and garbage help to improve upon biosecurity.
Pet animals and birds: In no case, pet dogs, show birds, game birds etc. should be allowed to come in contact with the commercial poultry house. The poultry sheds and feed stores should also be free from rodents.
Indiscriminate use of drugs and vaccines: Poultry farmers should be educated to use the drugs and vaccines as per the recommendations of veterinarians and only those products approved by FDA/government are used. Unauthorized vaccines pose a threat of introduction of new infections in poultry populations.