Biosecurity is a process for protecting farms and livestock from infectious diseases. Farmers can create and carryout biosecurity plans and practices specific to their farm and animals. Diseases can be introduced into a farm or animal from a variety of sources, and a good plan addresses all known routes of disease transmission from agents like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. The intent of a biosecurity plan is to outline what measures will be taken to keep a strong “clean” and “dirty” line between the farm and the external environment. Biosecurity procedures can involve plants, animals, people, equipment, air, water, food and waste.
Perimeter buffer area: This area or zone should include all areas related to livestock production. The Perimeter Buffer Area (PBA) should be separate from other operations that are unrelated to the day-to-day care of the animals. Things like the barns, feed bins, shower facilities, and storage can all be inside the Perimeter Buffer Area. The biosecurity plan should address how workers and visitors enter/exit the PBA.
Line of separation: A Line of Separation (LOS) is the physical barrier of a building where livestock are kept, including barriers at entry points like doorways. Outdoor livestock should also have a LOS where workers use barriers like fences or pens. The LOS should be specific for each barn and separate building.
- Clearly identify and maintain the farm perimeter and entrances so you can control access to your farm. Gated entrances provide the best way to physically stop vehicles before they enter the areas where you keep your livestock.
- Routinely inspect and maintain fences to deter wild animals and people from entering your farm.
- Consider running a second fence if you utilize a shared fence with a neighbor.
- Provide clear instructions for delivery drivers and other visitors.
- Setup a wash station for vehicles or equipment that will be driving into areas where animals or feed are housed.
- Provide a delivery box outside the line of separation for small packages.
- Minimize visitors and traffic on your farm and post signs at the farm entrance to inform visitors of procedures to follow on your farm.
- Inform all scheduled visitors of your biosecurity practices before they arrive.
- Provide written biosecurity protocols for regular business visitors like feed or fuel delivery.
- Post signage to let people know you have biosecurity measures in place and they should check-in with someone before entering the farm.
- Provide site specific protective clothing (boots, coveralls, masks, gloves, etc.) for visitors to your farm.
- Require all visitors to wash-in and wash-out if they enter your perimeter buffer area.
- Do not share vehicles and equipment between multiple farm sites, even if you own both sites, without thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting between each movement.
- Establish a perimeter buffer area for your equipment and wash it each time it crosses the clean and dirty line.
- Require parking in designated areas.
- Consider using specific vehicles to transport people, materials, manure, equipment and animals inside your clean line.
- Always wear clean clothes and boots when coming in contact with animals.
- Use dedicated clothing and separate boots when crossing each line of separation and wash and disinfect them regularly.
- Make sure your healthy animals are kept away from wildlife, contaminated materials, sick livestock, or sick people. New animals should not be introduced directly into the herd. Instead, all new arrivals should be isolated to a different barn or pasture for several weeks until they can be inspected and proven to have cleared any illnesses.
- Only purchase animals from known sources and make sure they appear healthy and have been inspected by a veterinarian.
- Require a waiting period of 24 to 48 hours between livestock premises visits for your employees and also your veterinarian.
- Prevent contact between wildlife and your healthy livestock. You should also try to control insects to the best of your ability because ticks, flies and mosquitos can transmit disease.
- Isolate sick animals, work with your veterinarian, and avoid using the same equipment and clothing between your sick and healthy animals.
- If you must use the same equipment, it should be properly disinfected between each use.
- You should use dedicated clothing for the area where you keep your sick animals.
- Keep open areas and unused buildings clean and tidy to avoid attraction of birds or rodents.
- Minimize wild birds around your buildings and animals because they are known disease carriers.
- Follow a rodent control program and take care of feed storage areas. Spilled feed should be cleaned up immediately to minimize attracting pests.
- Routinely clean and disinfect animal housing facilities, vehicles, and equipment. Regularly clean production areas and always clean equipment after use.
- Clean all surfaces exposed to manure, dirt and debris.
- Reduce large amounts of material with tools first and follow-up with a rinse before proceeding to cleaning. You cannot properly clean a surface if it is compacted with organic material such as manure.
- Apply soaps and disinfectants to surfaces according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Try to use hot water to rinse because it helps the surface dry faster before you apply a follow-up disinfectant.
- Consider rotating disinfectant solutions or approaches because some diseases can become resistant if exposed to the same agent over time.
- Know your animals and keep health records. Work with your veterinarian to plan for vaccinations and treatments to illness.
- Walk through your herd daily, or assign employees, so you can quickly tell when something is wrong with an animal’s health.
- Keep health records on every animal.
- Review and update your vaccination and treatment protocols with your veterinarian at least twice a year.
- Contact a veterinarian immediately if there are any unusual deaths or illnesses in your herd.
- Promptly and properly dispose of the carcass if an animal dies or is euthanized regardless of its health status before death.
- Render, compost, bury or burn dead animals and contact the Board of Animal Health if you have questions.
- Maintain accurate records related to your biosecurity.
- Keep a log of traffic visiting your farm, including businesses and individuals; consider asking individuals for information on his/her recent contact with livestock.
- Maintain required records for animal movements both onto and off of your farm.
- Animals should be individually identified so you can keep proper health records. Additionally, if you have several employees working on your farm, individual animal identification improves the ability for you and your employees to talk about health status, treatment needs, antibiotic withdrawal, and other individual needs.
- Educate yourself and train your employees to recognize and report diseases.
- Train employees and require them to follow your biosecurity plan.
- Make sure employees have a way to alert you or your veterinarian of a sick animal or suspected disease.
- Feed, water and supplies
- Always supply your animals with a clean and controlled water source. Do not use untreated surface water.
- Know the source of your feed and any potential contamination along the supply chain.
- Store your feed in a clean and secure area and keep wildlife and rodents out.
- Always read and follow labels when storing vaccines and medications.
- Some vaccines are very sensitive to temperature and light.
- Always consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions about vaccines or medicines.
- Use antibiotics appropriately and with the approval of your veterinarian. Antibiotic resistance is a serious threat to animal health.
One of the greatest risks of pathogen introduction to a herd is bringing in infected stock. Direct contact between infected and susceptible pigs is the most efficient way to spread disease. Isolation of incoming stock provides a safeguard against such transmission. Isolation allows time for the producer to observe new stock for signs of disease before herd entry. Isolation also gives the producer the opportunity to test animals for infection with certain pathogens and to acclimate or vaccinate incoming replacement stock against current herd diseases.
If you raise pigs you should stay away from poultry because of the risk of potential influenza transmission. If you must visit another premises, be sure to clean yourself and your clothing before and after.
Remember, vehicles and tools can carry disease. Before you drive down the road, consider where you are going and be sure your vehicle is clean and free of dirt, manure and other organic material. And, always remember that only clean tools and other work related items should be taken into a barn.
Protecting your birds from disease is important. Take your biosecurity to the next level and strengthen Minnesota’s poultry industry. Eliminate opportunities for your birds to interact with wild birds. Wild waterfowl are carriers of disease, like HPAI. The best way to avoid diseases that wildlife carry is to keep domestic animals separated from the wild.
If you have birds at home, do not visit another farm, home or facility that also has birds. Poultry producers should also avoid swine premises because of the risk of potential influenza transmission. If you must visit another premises, be sure to clean yourself and your clothing before and after.
Remember, vehicles can carry disease. Before you drive down the road, consider where you are going and be sure your vehicle is clean and free of dirt, manure and other organic material.
Early detection can help prevent the spread of disease. Knowing the signs to look for and monitoring the health of your birds on a regular basis is very important. Some signs to look for include nasal discharge, unusually quiet birds, decreased food and water consumption, drop in egg production, and increased/unusual death loss in your flock.
Report sick and dead birds to state health officials immediately. If your poultry appear sick or you have experienced increased mortality, please contact the MPTL at 320-231-5170.
- Keep your distance, and isolate your birds from visitors and other birds.
- Keep it clean, prevent germs from spreading by cleaning shoes, tools and equipment.
- Don’t haul disease home.
- Don’t borrow disease from your neighbor; avoid sharing tools and equipment.
- Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases.
- Report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths.
General Prevention Practices for Beef and Dairy Producers
- Limit the frequency and number of new introductions.
- Limit purchases to a few sources with known and trusted herd health programs.
- Obtain a complete herd health history prior to introducing new animals.
- Request copies of vaccination and treatment records for all purchased animals.
- Vaccinate newly acquired animals prior to receiving them.
- Make sure animals acquired from out-of-state have a valid certificate of veterinary inspection that meets import requirements.
- Handle all animals that temporarily leave your operation as new introductions when they return.
- Limit their contact with other animals during their time off your farm.
- Do not share stalls, tack, feed or water with animals from other operations.
- Do not share trailers, grooming supplies, reproductive equipment, needles or syringes with other farms.
- Prevent reproductive contact with animals from other herds.
- Quarantine all newly acquired animals or reintroduced animals.
- Ensure adequate ingestion of disease-free colostrum within the first 6 hours of life.
- Prevent contact of newborns with older animals and contaminated environments.