Industry Stance on Biosecurity
Bio-security practices are implemented at both breeder and chicken meat farms to reduce the risk of disease agents moving on to farms from outside sources (e.g. wild bird populations or from other farms). Good bio-security measures also prevent the transmission of disease agents between sheds on the same farm, carry-over of disease agents from one batch to the next, and carry-over of disease agents from breeding flocks to their progeny via the egg.
The aim of tight bio-security measures is to prevent the spread of disease agents and ensure food safety and security. As people are considered to be one of the biggest risks in regards to carrying poultry diseases onto chicken farms on their footwear, clothing, hands and even vehicles, growers take a number of measures to minimise the risks they pose. These may include:
- Signage and gates at access points to prevent unauthorised entry to the farm
- Visitors and service providers to the farm must wear overalls and boots provided by the farmer
- Provision of foot washing baths at the entrance of each shed for disinfection of footwear prior to shed entry
- Minimisation of vehicle movements onto the farm, vehicles or equipment that may have visited another farm may be required to be washed down before entry
- Where people or vehicles must move between farms on the same day without a thorough disinfection between sites, movements are scheduled such that the youngest flocks are visited first and the oldest last
Wild birds can also carry disease onto the farm and as a result measures are taken to minimise the possibility of wild birds and their faecal matter coming in contact with the chicken flock. These measures include:
- Wire netting the sheds so that they are bird proof
- Owners and employees are prohibited from keeping birds as pets (this includes poultry)
- Wild birds are discouraged from visiting the farm site, no spilled feed left lying around and where practical, no dams that attract water birds.
- Where the water that supplies the shed could be contaminated by wild birds eg dam or river water, it must be sanitised.
Farmers have a documented pest control program that reduces the risk of diseases being carried on to the farm by rodents. Strict records are also kept by the farmer that document the chickens’ health, growth and behavior, so that any emerging disease problem is rapidly identified and addressed.
For Further Information see The Federal Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Biosecurity Manual (Poultry)