Best four methods of maintaining poultry health:
Poultry houses should be completely cleaned and disinfected before new birds are moved in. The following steps will result in a clean house.
1. Take all movable equipment outside of the house. Clean off the manure, and wash and disinfect the equipment. Expose the equipment to sunlight.
2. Clean all of the manure and litter out of the house.
3. Sweep down the walls and ceilings.
4. Scrape and brush the floor clean.
5. Scrub the inside and outside of the house using high pressure. A portable steam cleaner can be used for this operation.
6. Spray the inside of the house with an approved disinfectant. Spray should be applied to all the surfaces of the walls, ceiling, and floor. Do not spray the disinfectant into waterers or feeders.
Chlorine, iodine, or quaternary ammonium are good disinfectants for smooth surfaces such as the walls and ceiling. Cresol, phenol, or coal tar-type disinfectants are best for floors, posts, and foundations.
7. Use new, clean, dry, nondusty litter on the floor.
8. Leave the house empty for 2 weeks to break disease cycles.
9. Lock the door to prevent people from entering and contaminating the clean house.
As far as possible, do not allow visitors to enter poultry houses, pens, and yards. Clean coveralls and disinfected rubber footwear should be worn by anyone who must enter the poultry area. Place a foot pan with disinfectant in it at the door, to be used before entering. Replace the disinfectant in the pan frequently.
Use only clean and disinfected equipment. Be cautious about allowing used poultry crates, egg cases, and feed bags to be brought onto the farm. These can spread diseases.
All dead birds must be disposed of promptly. Use of incinerators, composting, or deep burying are recommended for disposal of dead birds. Be sure that disposal methods meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
Dispose of manure by spreading it thinly on land that is not used for poultry. Do not put poultry on the land where the manure was spread for at least 4 years.
Eliminate places for pests, such as flies, to breed. Do not pile up manure outside of the poultry house. Control lice and mites inside of the house by using approved chemical.
Vaccination is not a substitute for good flock health management, but it is helpful in controlling certain diseases. Vaccines are available for Newcastle disease, Marek’s disease, infectious bronchitis, fowl pox, epidemic tremors, fowl cholera, laryngotracheitis, infectious bursal disease, erysipelas, and virus hepatitis.
Vaccinations should be used only in areas where the disease is known to exist. Plan a vaccination program for the specific operation in a specific locality. Some vaccines for certain diseases can only be used with the permission of the state veterinarian.
When planning a vaccination program, obtain help from a veterinarian, the Cooperative Extension Service, a hatchery, or feed dealer. Vaccinations cause stress in poultry. Vaccinate only healthy birds. Read and follow all directions on the vaccine.
Several methods may be used to vaccinate poultry. Individual bird vaccinations are given by injection, intranasally, intraocularly, or through the wing web.
Intranasal vaccination is placement of the vaccine directly into the nose opening. Intraocular vaccination is placement of the vaccine directly into the eye. Wing web vaccination is the process of injecting the vaccine into the skin on the underside of the wing web at the elbow.
A grooved, double needle instrument is used for wing web vaccination. Flock treatments are given in the water, by spray, or dust. The method used depends on the disease to be controlled. Individual vaccination causes more stress on the birds than flock treatments. Vaccinations for some diseases can be given in more than one way.
3. CONTROLLING DISEASE OUTBREAKS:
It is better to prevent a disease outbreak than to try to control it once it has occurred. Following the sanitation, management, and vaccination suggestions discussed earlier in this chapter will help the poultry producer prevent disease outbreaks from occurring.
The poultry flock should be checked daily for signs of disease. A sudden drop in feed and water consumption is often a sign of health problems. Watch the birds to see how they are eating and drinking.
If more than 1 percent of the flock is sick, a disease is probably present. Death rate is another sign of disease. During the first 3 weeks, the normal death rate for chicks is about 2 percent. For turkeys, it is about 3 percent. After 3 weeks of age, the death rate should not be more than 1 percent per month. A sudden increase in the death rate is an indication of disease.
Most diseases can be accurately diagnosed only in a laboratory. Very few can be accurately diagnosed on the farm. The producer should use the services of a veterinarian or the state diagnostic laboratory to determine which disease is causing the problem.
The procedure for collecting needed information and specimens is specified by the laboratory. This procedure should be carefully followed. The recommendations of the veterinarian or laboratory for control of the disease must also be followed for best results.
4. OTHER HEALTH MANAGEMENT PRACTICES:
In addition to sanitation, a number of other management practices contribute to good flock health. Among these practices are
1. Buy poultry replacement stock from a reliable, disease-free source.
2. Use day-old chicks and poults.
3. If possible, keep birds of only one age on the farm. Use an all-in, all-out program. (Bring all the birds onto the farm at one time and remove them all at one time.)
4. If it is necessary to keep birds of different ages, separate the flocks by at least 40 feet (12 m).
5. Separate chickens and turkeys. It is best to have only one or the other on the farm.
6. Separate breeder flocks from other poultry. It is best not to have any other poultry on the farm if a breeder flock is kept.
7. Keep pets and flying birds out of the poultry house. Flying birds can be kept out by screening the windows.
8. Provide the proper ventilation in the poultry house.
9. Control rats and mice. Use rat baits and traps as necessary. Make feed bins and storage rooms rat-proof. Eliminate places for rats and mice to breed by cleaning up trash and junk.
10. Feed balanced rations to prevent nutritional diseases. Make sure the feed is mixed properly. Provide plenty of fresh, clean water. Keep feeders and waterers clean.
11. Maintain good records. Records should be kept of vaccinations, disease problems, and medicines used and every other activities done on the farm.