Whether you visit your feed store, go to a local fair, poultry show or chicken swap, or even simply invite friends over who also raise chickens or keep pet birds, you could potentially be introducing deadly germs to your run.
Caretakers or others who need to come in contact with your flock should change their footwear and wear a pair of rubber boots you keep outside the run dedicated for ‘visitors’.
Set up a footbath for disinfecting boots. To make the footbath, cut a piece ‘fakegrass’ door mat to fit inside a plastic dish pan. Fill the dishpan with a mix of 3/4 Cup bleach per gallon of water. Also keep a stiff brush nearby. Ask friends who come to visit to first scrub their boots to remove caked on dirt and manure and then to stand in the footbath and scrape the bottom of their boots on the mat before approaching your chicken area. It’s also good practice to use it yourself any time you enter or exit the run. (Rinse and refill as needed as the bath gets dirty.)
Don’t share cardboard egg cartons, flats or wooden pallets with other chicken keepers. They are too porous to be able to disinfect well enough.
|~photo courtesy www.theeggcartonstore.com~|
Avoid borrowing feeders, waterers and other supplies from friends or neighbors who keep chickens. If you must, disinfect them with bleach before using them.
Avoid visiting farms or other households that keep poultry or pet birds. If you do, change your clothing and wash everything immediately when you return home. Disinfect footwear as described above.
Any birds you bring to shows or fairs should be quarantined from the rest of your flock for at least two weeks after you return home with them. New birds you bring home should be kept separate for at least 30 days. Buy birds only from reputable sources. Clean and disinfect your vehicle tires after visiting poultry swaps, shows and fairs.