By Patrick Shoriwa & Taruvinga Magwiroto

In livestock production, one of the key factors which influence profit are mortalities and morbidities (deaths and illness). In poultry production especially, it is generally given that your mortality rate should be below 5% if your venture is to be viable. One of the ways to prevent morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases is by means of bio-security.

Bio-security does sound like a big word, and in the minds of many small-scale poultry farmers, it probably makes them think of policies and regulations! Bio means “life” and security means “protection”. Taken together, bio-security literally means “provision of safety to living things”.

Bio-security is a basic and fundamental requirement that anyone keeping chickens should be aware of in order to protect their businesses. Bio-security aims to prevent the introduction of diseases into the farm and limit their spread, thereby preventing losses due to mortality; protecting human health and generally increasing profitability.

Bo-security is provided through implementation of a raft of measures which prevent the introduction of infectious agents into a poultry site or house. These measures include: access control; adequate sanitation and disinfection measures; showering procedures; record keeping as part of disease prevention and monitoring; as well as isolation of birds in different houses away from backyard flocks.

In the absence of proper bio-security measures, poultry producers are at high risk from infectious poultry diseases. Infectious diseases are a threat to business through loss of birds and threat to human health, with negative economic consequences. Examples of infectious diseases are Newcastle Disease, Salmonella and Avian Influenza, just to mention a few.

In the next instalment, we will go into further details of how to establish a simple, practical bio-security regime at your poultry premises.


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