What is Biosecurity?
In simple terms, Biosecurity is a way to avoid contact between your animals and microbes that can cause diseases. This is basically by carrying out day-to-day farm management activities to prevent and reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission to your animals. They are generally based on simple activities that cost little or nothing to carry out. If biosecurity measures are not followed, livestock farmers spend more time and more money on treatment when the disease subsequently appear.
Biosecurity can take care of all diseases and can be applied on all kinds of livestock animals including poultry, fisheries, cattle, sheep and goat etc.
Biosecurity measures include the following these simple rules and activities;
Keep your livestock animals in good condition by consistently providing them with clean water, adequate and quality food, comfortable housing, timely vaccination and timely deworming. Animals kept in bad conditions are more likely to succumb to diseases and are generally less productive (eg, reduced egg production, reduced meat leading to less income from your farm).
It is important that farmers (especially those in large-scale farming), keep their animals in a protected and safe environment. It is safer and better for livestock farms to be away from noise and places that are densely populated. For small-scale farmers including those with backyard farms, try as much as possible to provide good housing and keep it isolated from the main house.
When doing your rounds and check-ups on an animal farm, any animal that is observed to be sick should immediately be removed and separated from the (apparently) healthy animals. This is called culling the animal(s). They should undergo a medical check-up and be observed for changes – good or bad. Also when you do your observation rounds, it is safer for you to move from healthy animals to sick animals instead of the other way round. This would help to prevent disease transmission to healthy animals.
This is very key in protection and in minimizing the risk of transmission from you to your livestock and vice-versa. Protective clothing should include face masks, gloves, working farm suits and coats, caps or helmet, boots etc. To this effect, there should be changing rooms that must be kept clean and regularly disinfected. Also, all materials and equipment used for farm activities should be cleaned regularly.
5. Control all farm entries and movement
Make sure you control all entries and movement to your farm especially with regards to human, live or dead animals, tools, items, vehicles, equipment, feed, manure etc. Ensure that the place where animals are situated is restricted and only authorized personnel can enter. Also, from the main entrance, ensure you have places for changing of work clothes, disinfecting and washing of hands, legs and equipment. Also, other things like animal feed, equipment, live or dead animals, vehicles and manure must be stored or placed in restricted places away from the main farm.
New animals must be kept in a separate place for about 2 weeks before introducing and joining them with the remaining animals. This is called quarantine. Note that not all animals that look healthy are actually healthy. (That is why in medical terms, healthy animals are called “apparently healthy”). So the quarantine gives you the opportunity to monitor the bird for any sign of disease or ill-health.
Later, in our next Biosecurity discussion, we would engage on what you (as a livestock farmer) should do when there is an animal disease outbreak in your neighborhood.