Namibia is amongst other developing countries in which poultry farming has become a household term and majority of farmers see poultry farming as one of the most efficient, reliable and fast rewarding farming industries.
It is upon this background that I decided to share with poultry farmers important biosecurity measures to consider to insure profitability as well as food security.
In simple terms, biosecurity is a set of procedures or measures that are designed to prevent the introduction of harmful biological or biochemical substances onto the farm.
Implementing biosecurity on your poultry farm is the most effective disease prevention means available.
Below, I share with you some of the basic biosecurity measures/principles that can be employed on a small-scale poultry farm to minimise the risk of introduction of disease into the flock.
Record in many small scale farming has been neglected and this has become one of the reasons why a poultry farmer will have birds suffering or even dying from the same conditions after every now and then. Basic records sheets that may include the date, signs observed and treatments, eggs laid, death rates may help the farmer from obtaining good knowledge that will allow him to be able to make an early detection and measures will be taken at an earlier stage of the disease.
Birds that have been introduced into the flock as well as the sick birds should be isolated from the rest of the flock to reduce the risks of disease transmission from the sick ones.
The amount of birds in a certain area has a very huge impact on the health of the entire flock since birds do stress very fast as a result of overcrowding, heat stress, and competition for food as well as am increase in vices. For the reasons mentioned above the farmer should ensure reasonable space to avoid such stress.
A clean environment will play a very important role in the health of a flock after consultation with your veterinarian; products such as phenols, iodine, chlorine, quaternary ammonium as well as formaldehyde may be used to sanitise the area where the birds are living.
With a good record system, the poultry farmer will be able to select stock with genetic lines that are more resistant to disease as well as good layer and broilers characteristics that will in turn result in a reliable as well as profitable farming.
Most of the poultry diseases have vaccines that are available in the local markets. It is then important that the poultry farmer consults the nearby veterinarian to find the available products for specific disease that call for vaccination in their specific areas.
Healthy, unstressed birds have an active metabolism and a strong and effective immune system to protect them against diseases. Feeding birds appropriately with a nutritionally balanced diet, maintaining a comfortable environment and minimizing fear and anxiety in the birds will help the bird’s natural protective mechanisms to function optimally. Poultry care takers are a very important component of introduction of disease into the flock, it is hence important that caretakers and visitors avoid visiting other poultry flocks and if they do shoes, clothes, car wheels and all over equipment that were in contact with a different flock should be disinfected (of course using the potent disinfected mentioned above) prior to entry into the farm to avoid disease introduction.
The measures given above are not exhaustive and many other factors needs to be considered to ensure a disease free flock. The above principles should serve as stepping-stones to ensure efficient, safe and profitable poultry farming.