How is bird performance impacted when a pathogen infiltrates the production process? Microbes are present throughout live production; many are beneficial to gut health and productivity.
Pathogenic microbes, however, present a significant challenge for producers. Avian Influenza, Newcastle disease and infectious laryngotracheitis can cause significant economic losses and in some cases the loss of the entire flock, whereas other pathogens, like Salmonella and E. coli, are zoonotic and present a risk to human health.
Pathogens have a variety of paths from which they can enter live production. Mechanical vectors such as water sources, rodents, and insects, present a risk within farms, to individual birds and houses, while fomites such as feed, people and vehicles risk the biosecurity of entire complexes and farming operations.
Industry professionals recognize the value of a comprehensive biosecurity programs and are learning from the fast-growing body of new research and analysis of pathogen risk in live production and processing.
“Biosecurity establishes a barrier between the outer world and the animals on the farm, starting with a physical barrier,” said Enrique Montiel, DVM and Director of Nutrition and Live Production at Anitox. “Different countries have different guidelines, but the principle is the same.”
Beyond establishing a physical barrier, disease prevention protocols are typically defined within the operation. For example:
- vaccinating the flock to prevent disease
- disinfecting water systems
- establishing well-ventilated buildings
- replacing litter periodically
- disinfecting the facility between flocks
- sanitizing feed
Sometimes the missing link or hole in a biosecurity plan pathogen control within feed and feed ingredients. Feed plays a role by introducing pathogens two different ways:
- one of the feed ingredients itself is contaminated, or a finished product in the feed that was originally of acceptable quality gets infected during the handling process
- feed gets infected through contamination by other fomites or vectors either on the farm…