Enhancing Biosecurity: The Impactful Addition of Barn Entry Benches in Mitigating Avian Influenza Risks

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The poultry industry in North America, including Canada, is facing a heightened threat from Avian Influenza due to the spread of the virus by wild birds. With infected wild birds found throughout the United-States and Canada, the risk of contamination remains significant. In light of this, stakeholders must carefully assess their biosecurity practices to ensure preparedness.

According to epidemiology reports from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), an enhanced barn entrance design is among the most effective biosecurity measures to prevent disease outbreaks on farms. Implementing a physical bench at the barn entry has proven to significantly improve biosecurity compliance. By placing a wide bench that connects with the floor and walls, it serves as a visual reminder for individuals to change their boots, preventing the transfer of organic material from the Controlled Access Zone to the Restricted Area.

To maintain the effectiveness of the two zones, it is crucial to keep the floors clean, using dedicated brooms for each space. By implementing these measures, the poultry industry can bolster its defense against Avian Influenza and reduce the risk of disease transmission within farm facilities.

There are many different barn entry designs, but these are the basic steps for utilizing a bench at the entry. Adapt for your barn as needed.

Enter the anteroom and remove outerwear

Disinfect any supplies

For visitors, sign the visitors log

Sit down on the bench and remove your shoes – but do not touch your socks to the floor

Without touching your socks to the floor, swing your feet over the barrier and straight into your Restricted Area footwear

Ideally, wash your hands. If not, use hand sanitizer

Put on your barn-specific clothing and you’re ready for the barn!

More info on chickenfarmers.ca/portal.

References
1. Racicot et al., 2012. Evaluation of strategies to enhance biosecurity compliance on poultry farms in Quebec: effect of audits and cameras. Prev. Vet. Med. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2011.08.004
2. Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System, 2022. Preventing avian influenza with guest Dr. Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt. [CAHSS podcast series: animal health insights]. May 6, 2022. https://cahss.podbean.com/