DISEASE PREVENTION IN POULTRY
This aspect of poultry management must receive constant, close attention. Failure to maintain a high standard of disease prevention will usually result into unhealthy flock.
The basis of poultry health management is:
- The isolation of the flock from disease causing organisms – quarantine , including fencing, restricting movement in and out, avoiding any attractants of wild birds, avoiding domesticated local and ornamental birds etc.
- The destruction of as many harmful organisms as possible – hygiene. Including use of tyre baths that have a strong disinfectant, foot baths with a strong disinfectant, misting the poultry house, portioning the farm into a buffer and clean area, etc
- The use of an appropriate vaccination program – trigger the birds’ immune system.
And after vaccination,
- The use of appropriate preventive medication programs – for diseases for which there are no vaccines. Avoid dusty litter, create enough ventilation, avoid spilage of feed and water, avoid caked litter, avoid ammonia smell in the house, remove cage litter every after 3-5 days.
- The use of a suitable monitoring program – to monitor for the presence of disease organisms and the success or failure of the hygiene program or the vaccination program. This should include a weekly farm visit by a good veterinarian, farm visit reports showing key areas where to improve, and treatment plans if there’s disease.
The principle need is to maintain control over the means of entry by disease causing organisms. These may enter by several routes:
Poultry – introducing stock as day old chickens is considered to be the lowest risk method of restocking a poultry farm. Older birds are more likely to be diseased, at least carriers if not showing signs. Be careful when buying old birds on the road side, from other farms, or buying from a farmer who has failed to keep them!
Wild birds/other animals – these often carry the causes of disease and are likely to fly or move from one poultry farm to another if the farms are close enough. The best way to prevent this is to ensure a suitable distance between farms and a minimum of 5 km is recommended. A security fence 2 metres high and with a controlled entry gate should surround the poultry farm and all sheds should be protected from entry by wild birds and all other animals by secure “small eyed wire netting”
Wind – insects and dust carried on the wind from infected to clean farms may also carry the causal organisms of infectious disease. The best method to prevent this is to ensure that adequate distance i.e. a minimum of 5 km separating one farm or section from another. This distance is influenced by the direction of the prevailing wind – insects and dust travel further with the wind than against it, and the presence or absence of barriers in the form of Hill.