NEWCASTLE DISEASE CONTROL AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF BIOSECURITY
Newcastle disease is a reality that poultry farmers live with every day. Local prescriptions of herbs and concoctions seem not to yield the expected result as birds die in their numbers. This is particularly devastating for a small-scale poultry farmer who depends on his chicken for income and cannot afford to enlist the service of an animal health service provider on a regular basis. Both commercial and backyard poultry farmers can harness the advantages of Biosecurity. Biosecurity encompasses measures taken to prevent disease- causing organisms from entering into and spreading through the farm. It is the cheapest and most effective means of disease control. Having large number of birds concentrated in a space for commercial production purpose makes it imperative for the development and daily application of biosecurity procedures on poultry farms. Contaminated equipment, infected birds, rodents, pigeons, dogs, cat, mice and rats, clothes and footwears of humans aid the rapid spread of disease-causing microorganisms.
Biosecurity has three major elements: isolation, traffic control and sanitation. Isolation refers first to keeping the birds in a controlled environment and shutting unwanted visitors out. It also refers to separating sick birds from healthy birds to prevent further disease spread. Traffic control addresses the addition of new birds to the flock, introduction of equipment or goods and the admission of visitors into the farm. Sanitation implies the disinfection of materials, equipment and persons coming into and working on the farm.
Measures should be put in place to ensure that access to the farm and flock are restricted. Visits from people who have birds themselves should be limited. All visitors should always sanitize their hands and clean their shoes properly. We strongly advise you to provide them with clean shoes and coats before visiting your birds. Be sure to take sanitary precautions after visits to fellow farmers and animal markets. Limit any possible contact with wild birds as they can carry disease. Predators and rodents should be kept out as they are usually attracted to poultry feed. Have a proper rodent and pest control scheme in place, monitor your traps daily.
Effective biosecurity and cleanliness are inseparable. Feed and water should be kept clean. Wet litters with poor ventilation enable growth of disease organisms. Ensuring a relatively dry litter condition and good ventilation keeps disease at bay. Inspect the flock daily for any sick or dead bird. Carcasses should not be left to decompose to reduce spread of disease. Disinfectants should be applied after thorough cleaning and scrubbing. Biosecurity is an important part of keeping your flocks safe and healthy. An effective biosecurity program will have its positive impact on the economic performance of your flock.