Most farmers wonder: is it better to vaccinate birds against diseases or maintain strict bio-security measures and leave it that way. At least, this way one would save on expenses by choosing one and maximize profit instead of spending so much on both.
In fact, a funny farmer once said: “why should the birds be vaccinated, if they can still succumb to the same disease?” So, it is very important to look at this with a critical eye for better understanding on how these topics affect our poultry farming experience.
What is Bio-security?
This is a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases.
Bio-security measures are aimed at controlling the movement of biological organisms in your poultry. These measures restrict the movement of pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. This will make sure that the diseases do not spread fast across your farm in the event that there is an outbreak.
Bio-security measures include: fencing the farm, use of tyre bath at the fence, foot baths at door entrance, disinfecting all vehicles, separating production units from buffer zones, change of clothing, control of movements in and out of the farm, all-in all-out system, replenishment of disinfectants in time, etc.
The need for bio-security in a farm cannot be overstretched because you can never tell when and how there will be an outbreak, these measures also ensures that the probability of an outbreak remains at the lowest if done properly. An example of a lady who neglected bio-security on her 14 weeks pullets got a Gumboro attack.
Yes, books say it can’t happen but on this particular farm birds beyond eight weeks got a Gumboro attack. Therefore, vaccination alone should never raise your confidence without bio security.
The Important Roles Played by Vaccines
Vaccine plays an important role in preventing a given disease from infecting the vaccinated birds, so even if the disease gets past other measures of bio-security, the birds will be prepared. In other words, given vaccines help the birds to produce antibodies that fight against invading pathogens.
This is the best way to be sure that your birds are safe from a given disease. It is safe to say that vaccination is a part of bio-security, but knowing that it is such a broad and important topic, it is better to treat it as an entity on its own.
Vaccination is a good practice, but it is incomplete without proper bio-security measures, we can arguably say that no farmer can get the best protection by adopting only one of these practices.
Keeping it in mind that “it is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best” here are some tips on bio-security and vaccination.
8 Tips on Bio-security in Poultry Farms
1.Every poultry farm should have a foot bath prepared at major entries which consist of disinfecting solutions (Disinfectants) to kill germs on the feet of staff and visitors before entering the farm and pen.
2.All staff and visitors should use hand sanitizer before entering the farm.
3.All poultry farm staff should ensure to take a bath before going into the pen and after exiting. This will help reduce the chance of infecting the birds.
4.Every poultry farm should have clean clothes / overalls reserved for the pen only. Outside clothing should not be allowed in the pen.
5.The entry point of the farm should have tyre dip for vehicles coming into the farm, and vehicle spray to disinfect them
6.All equipment should be washed and disinfected after every use, also equipment and materials coming from outside the farm should be disinfected though its not a good idea to share equipment with other farms
7.Infected chickens should be separated, treated and watched to be entirely sure diseases have been completely cured. Every poultry unit must have its sick bay
8.The carcass of infected birds should be buried or incinerated but not eaten or given to dogs.
9.Keeping them healthy, productive, not stressed and with no mortality, you need to give them multivitamins after vaccination, after deworming, in stressful period, can be added to any treatment for faster recovery, during change of feed, in brooder, as an appetizer, to reduce mortality, to boost growth and egg production.