This is the second in our series of lessons in Biosecurity.
As a reminder, Biosecurity is simply carrying out simple animal management activities on your farm so as to avoid contact between your animals and microbes that can cause diseases.
Previously, we did a short note on Biosecurity measures that you should take to prevent diseases in an apparently healthy farm and an apparently healthy environment.
Now what happens when you hear or find out that there is a disease outbreak in your environment…. Like Avian Flu in Birds or Leptospirosis in Dogs, or PPR in cattle? Imagine the palpable fear that you feel when you consider the great possibility of your animals contracting and dying from these diseases. You have heard of the great loss that your colleague whose farm is affected is experiencing, and you imagine the real and potential economic losses that may be incurred if your animals get these diseases.
However, there is still hope! In fact there is a lot of hope …. But only if you can take the following simple Biosecurity steps;
Keep your animals in a close environment.
Again, as we have mentioned in the previous post, keeping your animals in an enclosed environment is a very important biosecurity step. When there is an outbreak nearby, and you allow your animals to be completely free, it is very risky. As much as possible, instead of letting your animals scavenge for themselves by going to dustbins or waste dumps to feed themselves, feed them yourselves. Poultry and cattle should not be allowed to move around to fend for themselves. Pets should not be allowed to leave the house compound or should be kept in a cage. Their movement should be highly restricted and confined to considerably safe places. The same process should be applied to sheep, goat, fish and other pets or livestock farms. Also, more than before, your animals should have clean water and adequate feed.
Do not buy nor accept new animals.
This is something that should not even be considered at the time of an outbreak in your neighborhood. This is because even if the new animals are isolated from the rest (“quarantine”), the risk of transmission of the disease is still too high. Do not introduce new animals even for a short duration. For poultry farms, do not bring live poultry for cooking near the farm. If you have to, prepare the poultry in a totally separate place where it can be cleaned thoroughly, then burn or bury the feathers and other wastes away from the farmyard. Try to avoid taking your livestock animal to the market for selling and then bringing it back again to your farm if you do not manage to sell it all. In case you have to bring the animals back to the farm, ensure you keep them separated from the others. Also, at the time of outbreaks, do not attend competition of fighting cocks or fighting rams.
Restrict entry and movement into your compound or farm.
Entry and movement on the farm or in your compound around where your animals are located should even be more tightened. All farm workers, animal handlers and family members working on the farm should wash their hands regularly with soap and clean water. Also, at the farm gates everyone should disinfect their shoes, sandals, wheels of motorbike, bicycle, cars and trucks before going onto the farmyard.
Maintain total cleanliness
As much as possible, (till your “clean radar” is satisfied) clean the farmyard, cages, the animal buildings, the equipment and every tool used for your daily activities regularly. Cages, housing, and farmyards should be swept everyday and disinfected regularly. Feces and unconsumed feed should be removed everyday and disposed far away from the animals (and other animals) You can burn them, bury them or store them in a protected place. Also, wash, brush and disinfect your small equipment and tools more regularly.
Finally, in case of any disease outbreak, ensure you report to the nearest local veterinarian working as a private practictioner or in public service. Reporting to them would ensure you have professional advice relevant to your farm. It would also give the vets added information on the spread and prevalence of the disease, and how to work on effective control of the disease in your environment.
Remember, Biosecurity is all in your hands at little or no cost.
Protect your animals, Protect your source of income, Protect your health