Unfortunately, chickens are not immune to developing illnesses. As backyard chickens keepers, it is important that we learn a few simple precautions that can keep our flock healthy and safe from harm. Incorporating biosecurity measures in keeping chickens makes sense.
Biosecurity is comprised of three components. These include sanitation, isolation, and controlling traffic. Part 1 of this series discussed how to recognize ill birds and isolate them. Part 2 will discuss sanitation and controlling traffic.
|Photo Credit: Access to green grass and sunshine is a great way to boost health.|
SANITATION-CLEAN HOME, HEALTHY FLOCK
1. Keep the chicken coop clean, dry and draft free.
2. The chicken run should be clean, tidy and puddle free with good drainage in storms.
3. Deep clean the coop and disinfect it at least annually. A few times per year is best.
4. Clean and disinfect the feeders and waterers regularly.
5. Feed your flock with chickens feed that is mold free and has not spoiled.
6. Fresh water should be provided daily.
7. Deal with rodent issues, like mice and rats, promptly.
8. Store all chicken feed in a lidded bin or container.
CONTROLLING TRAFFIC-PREVENT THE SPREAD OF DISEASE
1. Properly quarantine any new birds that you are introducing to your flock for at least 4 weeks.
|Photo Credit: Designate a pair of your shoes to be worn only around your flock|
2. When you or your visitors are present near your flock, they should always wear clean footwear. Be sure to avoid footwear that has been worn around other flocks of chickens or on other properties with livestock. Consider keeping disposable shoe covers available for your guests to wear.
3. Do not share yard equipment with other keepers of livestock or chickens.
4. Change and launder your clothing after handling chickens.
5. Wash your hands with soap and water after spending time with the flock.
6. Thoroughly clean out transportation cages, brooders, incubators, and hospital cages after use with a 10% bleach solution. Allow them to dry completely before putting back into use. Plastic is better than wood, as wood can “hold” and spread disease.
7. Properly disposed of dead birds. One technique is burying them deeply in the ground-at least a few feet deep.
8. Properly manage your chicken manure.
9. Keep wild birds away from your flock.
|Photo Credit: Beautiful eggs from healthy chickens|