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Developing a biosecurity plan for your poultry farm

A biosecurity plan documents the various biosecurity risks within and outside of your property and outlines measures to manage these risks. Having a plan in place will help to minimise the introduction and spread of infectious pathogens and disease, and in turn help protect the productivity and profitability of your business.

Your biosecurity plan should include:

A property map

On your property map, identify your boundary, and then mark out your production area boundary which is the area where your sheds and range areas are. The first line of defence against disease entering your property is by having a secure boundary. Many online mapping resources are available. These can be used to look beyond your property boundary to see where other poultry farms are located and the distance between farms.

An outline of the production stages

Draw a flow chart of the production stages of the business and the potential biosecurity risks that could occur at each stage. These will vary depending on the production system.

The Poultry Hub has examples of layer (egg) farm sequences and meat chicken farm sequences.

What your inputs are (i.e what enters your farm)

Identify what comes onto the farm. Anything that enters the farm has the potential to introduce disease and food safety pathogens.

Some examples of what may enter a poultry farm include:

  • poultry
  • water
  • people
  • pests–wild animals, vermin, insects
  • bedding material
  • feed
  • vehicles
  • drinking and watering equipment
  • egg flats, cartons and fillers
  • other animals–domestic pets and domestic livestock, other poultry.

It is important to identify, control and monitor all movement onto and within your property by animals, people, vehicles and equipment as they are all potential risks.

What your outputs are (i.e what leaves your farm?)

Biosecurity is also about preventing the spread of pests and disease off the farm. Identifying your farm outputs will highlight any potential ways that disease and food safety pathogens could leave the farm. Examples include:

  • eggs
  • spent hens
  • mortalities
  • meat product
  • live animals
  • litter
  • manure
  • people
  • vehicles.

Measures to manage the risk of biosecurity matter entering your farm

Biosecurity matter is disease, or a pathogenic agent that can cause disease. Disease and food safety pathogens can enter and exit a farm in many ways. It is important to identify the location of all entry and exit risks and to have procedures in place to reduce or manage these risks. The main risks of disease spread are:

  • contaminated people
  • contaminated equipment and vehicles
  • wild birds, wild animals and vermin
  • domestic animals
  • poultry movement
  • feed and water
  • air.

The Biosecurity Act 2014 has more information about biosecurity matter.

Keep records

Keeping routine records is important for production and performance purposes, and also demonstrates that you've met your general biosecurity obligation.

Always keep records of:

  • deliveries including feed, gas, egg flats
  • visitors including contractors, service people and vets
  • vaccinations and medications administered
  • water usage
  • water quality, chlorine levels and any treatments
  • feed consumption
  • shed conditions
  • mortalities
  • bird movements, including new or replacement birds and spent hens
  • sales (i.e. where your birds, eggs, or meat are sold)
  • rodent control
  • staff training.

A range of biosecurity records templates and examples are available from Farm Biosecurity.

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