When you think of the word “biosecurity,” you may imagine people wearing hazmat suits. But biosecurity is much less intimidating than that and is critical to preventing disease in your flock and other birds.
Basic biosecurity includes isolation practices, strict sanitation procedures, and a complete nutritional program overseen by your veterinarian. This means that you should keep your chickens away from other people, animals, and birds.
One of the most important nutrients that chicken owners can provide to their flock is water. Chickens need two to three pounds of water for every pound of feed consumed. Water should be between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
A balanced diet that is appropriate for your birds’ age helps reduce stress, and keeping stress levels low is another way to prevent disease. Trying to pinch pennies by stretching chicken feed with grains can actually cause more health problems in your flock. Balanced rations are available for all stages of a chicken’s life, so feed the right one at the proper time.
It is best to consider anything that moves, whether it is living or not, as a possible mode of transportation for germs and bacteria to flock. The wind, dust, equipment, animals, or people can carry pathogens. Take these steps to prevent your flock from being exposed to disease:
Your coop should be shoveled and scraped out before sanitation, removing any dirt, bedding, and rubbish. Hot water, soap, and a brush are the most effective tools for sanitizing. Chemicals cannot match a quality sanitation program. Wash your shoes in a small tub of water and disinfectant near the coop door when entering and leaving the coop.
It is fine to use food-grade chemical sanitizers. Chlorine and lye are sound choices for killing germs, while borax is a better choice when dealing with particularly stubborn microorganisms. Sunlight is also an excellent sanitizer, but it takes time to work.
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Following these tips will help you prevent disease in your flock and keep your chickens thriving. For more tips on raising healthy and happy chickens, subscribe to Chicken Whisperer Magazine.