Biosecurity means adopting measures to reduce the chances of an infectious disease being brought to your farm by people, animals, equipment, or even vehicles. It also entails doing everything all possible so as to reduce the chance of a disease leaving your farm. This approach is called “nothing in nothing out.”

One of the greatest risks to a farm comes from bringing new animals onto your premises or exposing your animals to other animals. This is a very common way to introduce new disease-causing organisms or pathogens into your farm.

As a rule of thumb, new animals and those which have been exposed to other animals should be segregated for 30 days. This isolation and quarantine is to give time to observe if they develop any signs of a disease and subsequent treatment.

 

Some of the key biosecurity measures to follow

The following are some of the basic tips for you to help prevent animal disease outbreaks.

1.     Keep Your Distance

Always restrict access to your property and your livestock or poultry, and post a sign saying so. Have one set aside area where visitors can enter. Do not allow any visitors near your livestock or poultry unless absolutely necessary. If a must, make sure the visitors have clean footwear such as disposable boots and clothes.

Have a set aside area where visitors can change into farm clothes and provide shower-in, shower-out facilities if this is possible. At all times, discourage handling of animals by visitors. Require and teach biosecurity to family, employees, and all visitors coming into, or involved with, your livestock production area.

 

2.     Keep It Clean

You, your staff, and your family should follow biosecurity procedures that ensure cleanliness. Always wear clean clothes, scrub your shoes or boots with disinfectant, and wash hands thoroughly. Keep all the equipment and vehicles clean and insist that machinery and vehicles must be cleaned thoroughly with a disinfectant before entering your property. Maintain programs to control wild birds and rodents that can carry or spread diseases.

 

3.     Don’t Haul Disease Home

At any given point, if you, your family, or employees have been on other farms, at feed lots, petting zoos, animal auctions, or other places where there is livestock and poultry, thoroughly clean and disinfect your truck or car tires and equipment before heading back home. And, if you have shown livestock or birds at a fair or exhibition, or are bringing in new animals, always keep them separated from the rest of your herd or flock for 30 days after the event. At all times change clothes and wash your hands thoroughly before returning to your animals.

 

4.     Don’t Borrow Disease from Your Neighbor

Strictly, do not share your equipment, tools, or other supplies with the neighbors or other livestock or poultry owners. And on the few instances when you do, always remember to clean and disinfect them properly before they reach your property.

 

5.     Look for Signs of Infectious Diseases

It is always prudent to know what diseases are of concern for your herd or flock and be on the lookout for abnormal signs or behavior, severe illness and/or sudden deaths. Whenever possible, assess the health of your animals daily by spending quality time observing them. Early detection is very critical to prevent the spread of disease.

 

6.     Don’t Wait to Report Sick Animals

Always report unusual animal health problems to your veterinarian at the earliest time possible. This will aid in early intervention and prevent massive losses.

Some of the dangerous animal diseases you need to guard against include high pathogenicity avian influenza, coccidiosis, foot-and-mouth disease, lumpy skin disease, classical swine fever, swine vesicular disease, African swine fever, vesicular stomatitis, rinderpest, exotic Newcastle disease, African horse sickness, Anthrax and sheep pox.

It is your responsibility to keep your animals healthy and doing all possible to prevent disease incidence in your farm.