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Biosecurity and free-range poultry farming

There are increased biosecurity risks when operating a free-range poultry system, due to more exposure to potential sources of disease and food safety pathogens. Some of the greatest biosecurity risks to a free-range operation are wild birds and animals, rodents and airborne infection.

Additional biosecurity measures

In free-range situations, you may need to implement additional biosecurity measures such as:

  • having facilities available to be able to lock birds indoors at night to protect them from inclement weather, predators and exposure to wild birds
  • making sure that vegetation (e.g. planted trees for shade, vegetation buffers and shelter belts) minimise wild bird attraction. Alternatives to trees on the range are structures covered with shade cloth or shade sails
  • only using treated water for range irrigation
  • providing feed and water for birds indoors
  • keeping grass on the range area short and don't let it seed as long grass can attract wild birds and rodents
  • minimising the amount of open water sources on the property and do not have any dams located within the range
  • keeping different animals separate—don't keep poultry and other livestock or other species of poultry on the range together
  • ensuring the range drains well so water doesn't pool or puddle
  • regularly removing manure from outside hatch openings and cleaning the ramps from poultry housing to the range.