Biosecurity: Revisited

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Often heard, frequently misunderstood, “biosecurity” is a set of practices that all poultry owners should know and implement to protect their poultry flocks from a disease. Birds that are raised under pastured or free-range management styles are particularly in need of attention due to their increased exposure to environmental disease sources.  
What is biosecurity? 
Biosecurity is the practice of minimizing the spread of disease into a flock of birds, or in the event of disease occurrence, preventing the spread of disease-causing organisms off the premises. This is accomplished through practical, common-sense prevention measures.  
Common Routes of Infection  
• Exposure to diseased birds, either wild or from purchased stocks of questionable origin.
• Introduction of healthy birds who have recovered from disease but are now pathogen carriers.
• Shoes and clothing of visitors or caretakers who have been in contact with other birds.
• Use of borrowed equipment that is contaminated with disease organisms.
• Rodents and free-flying birds gaining access to poultry housing and feed sources.
Of all the possible breakdowns in biosecurity, the introduction of new birds into an existing flock and contaminated foot traffic pose the greatest risk to bird health. Properly managing these two factors should be a top priority.  
Know the Warning Signs
Early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease. Look for changes in eating, drinking, behavioral habits, and for signs and sounds of respiratory distress.
- Sudden increase in bird deaths.
- Nasal and eye discharge.
- Lack of energy and poor appetite.
- A drop in egg production or an increase in soft or thin shelled eggs.
- Swelling around the eyes, neck, and head.
- Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs.
- Tremors, drooping wings, twisting of the head and neck.
If your birds are sick or dying, call your local county extension office, or the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network located in Gainesville, Georgia. Each office can assist you by use of a disease diagnostic questionnaire to help identify the severity and level of concern over the symptoms your birds are experiencing.
Disease Prevention Practices
Because of the destructive potential that a contagious poultry disease could have on our commercial industry and small flocks alike, poultry owners are encouraged to adopt the following:
• Prevent wild birds, particularly waterfowl, from coming in contact with the flock. This may require penning of free roaming poultry during times of heightened concern of Avian Influenza.
• Avoid purchasing or coming in contact with other birds and flocks, particularly birds of questionable origin from auctions and live bird markets. Those birds may have an infection or become susceptible to an infection that is already present in birds that appear healthy in the existing flock.
• New birds represent a greater risk to biosecurity because their disease status is often unknown. Purchase new stock from reputable dealers - those that participate with the National Poultry Improvement Plan.
• Quarantine all new birds away from the existing flock for at least 3 weeks. This will help identify birds recently exposed to disease that have yet to show symptoms, though it will not identify those that have previously been sick, have recovered, and continue to shed pathogens. Sick birds that survive such viral disease become carriers of the virus and can infect previously unexposed birds in the existing flock.
• Wear dedicated footwear that can be sanitized after every visit when attending to your birds. Disinfectant footbaths may help to decrease the dose of organisms on footwear that can be tracked into poultry enclosures.
• Do not share equipment, tools, or poultry supplies with other bird owners. If you do bring these items home, clean and disinfect them before they are used in association with your poultry. 
During this time of heightened concern over the threat of Avian Influenza, due vigilance is warranted for backyard poultry keepers and commercial growers alike. 
This article was originally published in UGA Poultry Science, UGA Extension, April 2017.
November 1, 2017

One of the key success factors in poultry farming is strick biosecurity. Some farms, out of ignorance or carefree attitude, pay little attention to biosecurity, especially in developing countries.

ikodudu kingsley ikodudu kingsley
Poultry farmer
November 2, 2017
Nice topic and we'll said
David Otaigbe David Otaigbe
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, PGDM - Business Administration, Diploma in Theology
November 2, 2017

Every serious poultry farmer must pay and give special attention to biosecurity if he must succeed and remain in business, especially in this dispensation.

Biosecurity may look expensive especially when the cost of some of the needfuls are considered, but it pays off in the long run, especially in view of the huge capital investment that the sector requires.

I would advise every serious practicing poultry farmer that value his investment not to compromise on this and also not underestimate it.
Nice topic and practical logical steps, already emphasized.


star Husam Bakri Husam Bakri
Veterinary Doctor
November 4, 2017
David Otaigbe First thank you for your information and I totally agree with your points .
albert ezeonyia albert ezeonyia
November 4, 2017
David Otaigbe thank you so much for your advise. it is well taken.
Ikpe Juliana Ikpe Juliana
MSc, Ph.D (in view)
November 2, 2017
Well explained. Is the use of phytobiotics and vaccines in preventing disease occurance in Poultry production also classified as biosecurity measures? Please i need more explanation.
Tx Ikpe Juliana (
amanat ullah amanat ullah
November 3, 2017
nice information about biosecurity .nice discussion also..
Ayinla Semiu Ayinla Semiu
November 6, 2017

Biosecurity goes beyond cost but includes caution on the part of the poultry farmers. Our eggs sales point should be separated from our operation completely and where possible, we should find a way to get our spent layers to the buyers without them getting close to our pens. This also helps in reducing farm to farm transfer of diseases.
Just an additional information.
Ayinla Semiu

albert ezeonyia albert ezeonyia
November 8, 2017
Ayinla Semiu thanks my dear. but some farmers do not have space even to separate their egg sales point, can they not use disinfectant to achieve some level of sanity in their farms? thanks.
Joseph Akayi Nammonywa Joseph Akayi Nammonywa
Animal Health
November 7, 2017
Biosecurity is key to poultry farming,nice topic thanks
November 7, 2017
Bio-security is a key to successful poultry production when implemented to the fullest... in the long run it reduces on cost that would result if not taken in to consideration
November 12, 2017
It is very pertinent. To make profit in Poultry Business., bio security is key. Its a very useful information and for us to succeed on this business, we will continue to develop in it.
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