As milder weather replaces the wintery conditions across Canada there will be a reemergence of new plants, animals, and insects. There will also be a reemergence of diseases we haven’t seen in a while. While it is important to be vigilant about biosecurity year-round, spring is a good time to check the farm’s biosecurity procedures and update them to protect the farm and flock from diseases like Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
General biosecurity procedures include:
- All people entering poultry barns must put on clean footwear, wear farm-specific clothing and follow all biosecurity protocols each time a barn is entered. There are no exceptions.
- Minimize visits to other poultry productions and avoid sharing equipment with other poultry productions sites or farms. Clean and disinfect all equipment and vehicles entering the barn area before and after use.
- Avoid contact with outside/wild birds.
- Properly dispose litter and carcasses to prevent pathogens from re-entering subsequent flocks.
- Control rodent populations. Clean up feed spills, seal any holes in the building, and refill bait stations.
There is an increased risk of AI infection to poultry flocks during spring wild bird migrations. According to the U.S. Geological survey, the current global cases of HPAI virus observed in wild birds is similar to that of the winter 2014/2015 HPAI outbreak.
The Raised by a Canadian Farmer On-Farm Food Safety Program recommends that all SOPs (standard operating procedures) be reviewed on an annual basis. The time dedicated towards biosecurity can be seen as an inconvenience, but it is an important necessity to limit the impact on the whole industry. If you have any concerns regarding the health of your flock, contact your veterinarian immediately.