Raising Backyard Chickens: Note on Biosecurity

Biosecurity is defined as a practice to prevent the spread of disease onto your property. The purpose is to protect your flock from infectious diseases. The only way to control disease is to prevent it. Which is why it is so important to plan for biosecurity on your property.

A few key considerations:

  1. Potential disease carriers: People (you and other poultry keepers), clothing, shoes, equipment (cleaning supplies, wheelbarrows, ), and wildlife.
    • Avoid visiting other chicken yards, farms, and poultry events (shows, sways, auctions, fairs, etc.),
    • Change your clothes, wear clean shoes, wash hands before and after working with birds.
    • Visitors should wash their hands, wear disposable shoe covers.
    • Clean all equipment and disinfect before use with the chickens.
    • Do not attract wild birds to your property with bird feeders or bird baths.
  2. Isolation: Healthy birds should be separated from other flocks in your area and flocks should be separated by age groups.
    • Sick chickens should be isolated.
    • Always tend to the healthy flock first, and then go by age youngest to oldest.
  3. Sanitation: Coops should be deep cleaned (empty, clean, & disinfect) at least annually.
    • Control rodent and fly populations on your property.
    • Clean and disinfect feeders and waterers regularly.
    • Maintain a regular cleaning protocol to limit feces in and around the coop.
  4. Quarantine: Implement proper quarantine procedures when bringing any new birds into your existing flock.
    1. It is not safe to put new birds from an outside source directly into your flock.
      • Chickens can appear healthy while being a disease carrierchicken flock photo
      • During times of stress like moving to a new home, latent diseases can become active and they will shed the pathogens which can infect other chickens.
      • Failure to quarantine properly can result in death of your entire flock.
    2. A Quarantine area should be at least 12 years away from your existing flock.
      • Dedicated coop, pen or other housing area.
      • Minimum recommended quarantine period is 3 weeks, but 30-60 days is ideal.

 

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