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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.

Cross-Bred Cow with Calf in Arkansas

Livestock Biosecurity

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.

Bios Secure Area Sign in Arkansas

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.

backyard flock biosecurity

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 billion dollars.

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.

Four Broiler Production Houses in Arkansas

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 and/or spread.

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 farm.
  • 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 weeks.
  • 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 unit.
  • 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.