Section 3. Biosecurity

  1. Prevention
  2. Biosecurity
  3. Isolation
  4. Traffic Control
  5. Sanitation
  6. Decontamination

Isolation Practices

Your actions and farm setup should keep your birds separate from potentially infected or contaminated birds and materials. Practice these tips below to reduce the likelihood of introducing disease to your flocks.8,10,11

  • Poultry housing should be away from public roads.
  • Avoid setting up near ponds or stagnant water sources as they attract wild birds. Housing area should also drain well.
  • Houses or pens should have a solid roof and sides to prevent contact with infected wild birds or their droppings.
  • If your birds are outside, try to keep them in a screened area. Consider placing a tarp or mesh netting over the fence to protect your poultry from wild birds and the elements.
  • Food and water should be provided only in the covered area.
  • Limit the amount of free standing food that may attract wild animals and keep stored food covered.
  • A fence with locks should be set up around the housing as another barrier.
  • Ensure birds have adequate space, light, and ventilation.

Chicken Coop
Photo Credit: Jessica Renshaw

  • Different species and ages should be kept separate if possible. Some diseases may be worse in one group.
  • Avoid introducing new birds to your old flock. Depending on your flock size, “All In - All Out” is a good approach to prevent disease. This means that one flock is brought in and no more birds are added until that flock is taken out.
  • When purchasing new birds, ensure they are from a reputable seller, who participates in the USDA's National Poultry Improvement Plan. This ensures birds are free of avian influenza and other devastating diseases.
  • If new birds are introduced, they should be isolated in quarantine for 30 days before being added to the rest of the flock.
  • Sick birds should be isolated in quarantine for 30 days as virus can be spread for up to four weeks after infection.
  • Avoid live bird markets.

ARS: Keith Weller

  • Practice rodent and insect control (such as mouse traps, baits, and insecticides) as these pests can carry viruses and spread disease.
  • Line gravel around the outside of the poultry house and keep the grass short to discourage rodents from nesting.

CDC Photo Library: James Gathany