Livestock & Poultry Biosecurity
There has been tremendous news coverage the last few years of the outbreaks of Foot
and Mouth Disease, Influenza, and recently emerging infectious diseases. Biosecurity
is the term used for the overall protocols to prevent disease outbreaks and /or prevent
disease spread during an outbreak.
An outbreak of a disease on a farm can cause loss of animals for sale, loss of production,
and extra expenses from veterinary services, quarantines, and/or costs of sanitation
and disinfection. There are many ways disease can enter a farm. Biosecurity practices
should be part of the daily routine to prevent disease entry onto the farm.
Commercial Poultry Biosecurity
The commercial poultry industry is the leading industry of Arkansas animal agriculture
and accounts for numerous jobs. An outbreak of Influenza or Exotic Newcastle could
be devastating to the poultry industry and the state economy. Biosecurity practices
are used to prevent these two diseases and numerous other diseases from entering a
poultry farm or spreading during an outbreak.
Hobby and Small Flock Biosecurity
There are many individuals interested in keeping small poultry flocks for eggs, meat,
exhibition, or as a hobby. These small flocks are at risk, similar to commercial poultry
flocks, to physical and disease threats. The prevention of these dangers and threats
is referred to as "Biosecurity". This site has information that can assist small flock
owners develop a Biosecurity plan for their flock.
The value of the United States animal agriculture production is approximately 14%
of the gross domestic product and approximately 19% of all employment with almost
1 million jobs. Exports represent roughly 20% of all animal production and over 140
Arkansas agriculture accounted for 17.0 billion of value added to the Arkansas economy
in 2011 with Arkansas in the top 25 states in 24 agriculture commodities. The state
is a leading producer of animal protein products with beef and poultry produced as
companion agriculture enterprises on many farms in the state. Disease outbreaks can have
a serious impact on the economy of the state and amount to millions of dollars in
lost product for human consumption, value of replacement stock, medication costs and
in lost time associated with disease control. In addition, an outbreak could cause complete
shutdown of the exportation of specific animal products in accordance with various
regulations associated with treaties and agreements. The continued threat from Agroterrorism
and Bioterrorism requires continued vigilance to prevent the use of an infectious
disease as a weapon against the United States food supply.
Biosecurity protocols and management practices reduce and/or prevent the spread of
infectious diseases in livestock and poultry. Biosecurity should be an extremely high
priority in day to day farm operation and management. It is important that an assessment
of the potential threats to the farm be conducted for use in developing a farm Biosecurity
plan. All farm employees need to be well trained in the plan and how to implement
each step. The three major components of a Biosecurity plan are isolation, control
of traffic, and sanitation. Isolation is used to prevent contact between animals in
a controlled environment and those in an uncontrolled environment. It is important
that new animals or those returning to the farm be isolated before commingling with on
farm animals. Traffic control minimizes the risk that traffic to and from the farm
(people, vehicles, animals, equipment) inadvertently carry disease organisms onto
the farm. Good sanitation is vital in the prevention of disease and is the third
component of a Biosecurity plan. It is important to remember that rodents and wild
animals carry disease and minimizing contact reduces the possibility of disease entry
Points of a biosecurity plan can include the following:
- Animal houses, pens, and facilities need to be well constructed to prevent entry of
wildlife, rodents, wild birds, etc.
- Buildings should be of such construction that cleaning can be done easily and thoroughly
- A no trespassing sign or restricted entry sign should be placed at the entry to the
- A boot cleaning and disinfection station should be located near the entry of the farm
- All feed bins should be of secure material so no contamination can take place from
rodents wild birds, water (mold), etc.
- There should be control of grass and other vegetation to prevent hiding places for
rodents and wildlife.
- Rodent control (baits and/or traps) should be practiced.
- Insect control should be routine.
- Prevent contamination of feed and water by wildlife.
- Any new animals or returning animals should be quarantined for a minimum of three
- Always visit the youngest then proceed to the oldest; animals or poultry under quarantine
should be visited last.
- On farm coveralls/clothing should be worn on the farm and should not be taken off
the farm without proper sanitation.
- Boots and/or disposable types of shoe coverings should be used when entering the farm
- Hand washing stations or hand sanitizer should be used.
- Any visitor the farm needs to be instructed in proper utilization of Biosecurity clothing.
In other words how to “suit up” in protective outer clothing, boots, gloves, etc.
and how to properly remove them before leaving.
- Records should be kept of all diseases occurrences
- All facilities should be kept locked.
- "No Visitors" and/or "Restricted" signs should be posted at the entrance of the farm.
- All vehicles and equipment should be properly cleaned and disinfected.
- Dead animals should be disposed of according to approved methods.
- Consider having dead animals necropsied at a diagnostic laboratory to determine the
cause of death.
- Do not borrow equipment, vehicles, etc. from another farm.
- Use appropriate vaccines to prevent disease
- Do not visit areas where animal and/or poultry diseases have been diagnosed.
- If sick animals are observed on the farm contact your local veterinarian immediately
Disease outbreaks can reduce farm efficiency and profits. Biosecurity programs can
reduce the risk of disease entry to the farm and prevent spread of disease to neighboring
farms if an outbreak was to occur.