How To Protect Your Poultry

After witnessing the disruption caused by this year’s avian influenza outbreak, every farmer should ask themselves if their biosecurity plan is strong enough to protect their birds through the Autumn/Winter months.

Preventing disease from entering your farm, and protecting others by preventing disease from leaving your farm, is absolutely critical to creating a long term disease free environment.

Some diseases are unapparent, and others can kill all of your birds. Developing a good biosecurity plan and adhering to it is the best way to limit the introduction of infectious diseases and parasites into your flock.


– Limit visitors from accessing your pens. Do not visit other poultry facilities.
– Confine birds to a fenced area and limit contact with wild birds, mammals, and insects as much as possible.
– Do not share equipment, supplies, or vehicles with other bird owners.
– Clean and disinfect all coops, equipment, shoes, clothes, and vehicles properly, every time, before entering poultry areas.
– Practice “all in, all out” when changing flocks. Get rid of all birds and disinfect the coop before getting any new birds.
– Keep rodents, flies, dogs, and cats out of the chicken coop and feed.
– Check for parasites monthly and treat if necessary. Use a dusting area to prevent external parasites.
– Never introduce adult birds into an established flock unless they pass quarantine (3 to 4 weeks of isolation) or are tested clean of disease.
– Never mix different species in the same flock. Mixing species (e.g., chickens and turkeys or with waterfowl) on the same premises can be a deadly combination.


– Make sure everyone that cares for your birds understands and abides by all biosecurity plans for your flock.
– Wear separate dedicated clothing and shoes when working with your birds.
– Clean up any spilled feed and discourage wild birds from accessing feed and your bird pens.
– Watch for signs of infectious disease in your birds.
– Never access your birds after hunting, fishing, or coming in contact with any other birds or areas that wild birds frequent.
– Never buy birds from unknown sources like auctions or other live bird markets.
– Care for and visit birds in the order of bird age– youngest first to oldest last.
– Always care for sick pens last or, better yet, have a separate person care for sick birds.


If Birds: –

– Stop eating and drinking
– Show signs of droopiness or lack of energy
– Have watery eyes or nostrils, and make rattling or wheezing sounds when they breathe
– Die suddenly without clinical signs
– Have poor balance and/or abnormal head and neck positions
– Have diarrhea
– Have decreased egg production or produce soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
– Exhibit swelling or purple discoloration of shanks, head, eyelids, or comb


– Place your premises under voluntary quarantine from all visitors.
– Do not buy, sell, trade, or move any of the birds off your premises.
– As soon as possible, double-bag and refrigerate (do not freeze) dead bird(s) and contact the veterinary diagnostic laboratory for further directions on submission. You may be directed to take live birds with symptoms and/or take or ship recently deceased birds to the lab.
– Do not visit farms or businesses that are frequented by people that have birds.

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