Backyard Chickens – Biosecurity

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
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four chickens

These days, chickens are a common sight in both rural and urban backyards but with the increase in the number of people that own chickens comes an increased chance of spreading disease into our flocks. Whether you consider your chickens to be pets or livestock anyone that owns chickens should have a biosecurity plan for their flock.

So what does biosecurity for backyard chickens mean? Having a biosecurity plan simply means identifying ways that disease can be introduced to your flock and then taking actions to reduce the chance of bringing disease into your operation.

Here are a few things you can do to keep your flock happy and healthy.

  1. Develop a secure area
  • Provide a perimeter fence to prevent chickens from coming into contact with wild birds or other chickens.
  • Establish a buffer between your flock and your neighbor’s chickens.
  • Establish Areas where people can disinfect their shoes before they enter the secure area that you have established.
  1. Sanitation
  • Keep your chicken coop clean and dry.
  • Keep all equipment used with the chickens clean, this includes feeders and drinkers.
  • Make sure anyone entering the secure area has clean clothes and sanitized shoes.
  • Be sure to wash your hands before and after you care for your chickens.
  • If you borrow tools from a friend be sure to sanitize them. That includes tires on mowers or trailers.
  • Clean the tires on your vehicle after going to a high-risk area or at least park away from your secure area.
  1. Quarantine new birds
  • Quarantine new birds for at least 2 weeks to see if they develop any disease symptoms.
  • Have a space dedicated for separating and caring for sick or injured chickens from your flock.
  • A word of caution when bringing in new birds: Even birds that show no signs of disease could be carriers of certain pathogens.
  1. Education
  • Educate your friends and neighbors about biosecurity for backyard flocks. The more people that are educated in small flock biosecurity the better.

So now that you know how important biosecurity is to your chickens you can start working on your plan. If you need help developing your plan call me at 704-283-3743.