1. On the farm, one of the greatest risks comes from introducing new animals onto your property or commingling or exposing your flock or herd to other animals. This is a common way to introduce new disease-causing organisms. As a rule of thumb, new animals should be segregated for 30 days.
2. Farm visitors pose a risk, especially if they have been on other farms with animals or have recently been in other countries with diseases exotic to the United States.
3. Farm equipment that has been in contact with manure can be a source of infection. Equipment should not be shared with other farms unless it has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before it reaches your property.
Common Sense Biosecurity Measures
1. Keep Your Distance. Restrict access to your property and your animals, and post a biosecurity sign. Have a specific area where visitors can enter. Visitors should not be allowed near your animals unless absolutely necessary, and then visitors should be wearing clean footwear (disposable boots work well) and clothes (supply for them). An area should be available for visitors to change clothes and provide shower-in, shower-out facilities if possible. Require and teach biosecurity to family, employees, and all visitors coming into, or involved with your production area.
2. Keep It Clean. You, your staff and family should always follow biosecurity procedures for cleanliness. Wear clean clothes, scrub boots/shoes with disinfectant or use separate dedicated footwear for inside contact with animals, and wash hands thoroughly. Equipment and vehicles should be kept clean and insist all equipment and vehicles be cleaned before entering property. Maintain programs to control birds, rodents, and flies, who can carry and spread disease.
3. Don’t Haul Disease Home. If you, your employees, or family have been on other farms, other places where there is livestock and/or poultry, or someplace where fellow farm personnel congregate, clean and disinfect your vehicle tires and equipment before returning home. Always change clothes and wash hands before returning to your animals.
4. Don’t Borrow Disease From Your Neighbor. Do not share equipment, tools, or other supplies with your neighbors or other livestock or poultry owners. If sharing equipment, be sure to clean and disinfect before returning to your property.
5. Look for Signs of Infectious Diseases. Know what diseases are of concern for your flock or herd and be on the lookout for symptoms. Assess the health of your flock or herd daily. Early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease.
6. Report Sick Animals – Don’t wait. Report serious or unusual animal health problems to your veterinarian, local extension office, animal owner, or State or Federal Animal Health officials. USDA operates a toll-free hotline (1-866-536-7593) with veterinarians to help you.
Precautions for Free Range Poultry
Poultry producers who raise birds in outdoor, non-confinement systems should prevent contact with wild birds and wild bird droppings. Protective measures include:
1. Identify high risk areas including wetlands along migratory flyways or areas where wild waterfowl or shorebirds congregate, and high density poultry production areas.
2. Implement preventive measures for high-risk areas:
a. Keep birds indoors.
b. Restrict outside open access by maintaining outdoor enclosures covered with solid roofs and wire mesh or netted sides.
c. Provide feed and water for all non-confinement-raised poultry in an indoor area. Birds should not be allowed access to surface water that could potentially transmit AI or other avian pathogens through contamination with wild bird excrement.
d. Even if an area may be considered low risk, it should be covered with wire mesh or netting.
Look for Signs of Disease
It is important for producers to know the warning signs of diseases such as avian influenza (AI) or Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv). If you know the signs, you may be able to tell if something is wrong. Early detection helps prevent the spread of disease.
Look for these signs of AI:
1. Sudden increase in bird deaths in your flock.
2. Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing, and/or runny nose.
3. Watery and green diarrhea.
4. Lack of energy and poor appetite.
5. Drop in egg production or soft or thin-shelled, misshapen eggs.
6. Swelling around the eyes, neck, and head.
7. Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs.
If you suspect your birds may have AI, don’t wait – Report it!
Look for these signs of PEDv:
Mild “cow pat” feces through to a watery diarrhea.
Mortality may be high.
Weaners & Growers:
Acute watery diarrhea with no blood or mucus.
Mortality is usually low but morbidity can be high.
When the virus is first introduced on to the farm, there is a rapid spread of diarrhea across all breeding and growing pigs with almost 100% morbidity (pigs affected) within 5 to 10 days. The incubation period is 2 to 4 days.