Biosecurity is a word we hear a lot these days when it comes to keeping our birds healthy and safe. It is more than just a word, though. Merriam-Webster defines biosecurity as security from exposure to harmful biological agents and measures taken to ensure this security.
The Cambridge Dictionary provides a similar definition, “the methods that are used to stop a disease or infection from spreading from one person, animal, or place to others," and offers this example: Chicken farmers have strengthened biosecurity to prevent contamination from people who have visited live-bird markets.”
It is very interesting that this entry mentions chicken farmers. It makes me think that someone has taken notice of all of the efforts that chicken farmers and keepers have put into keeping their flocks healthy.
Practice, Not Just Words
On my farm, I get to see biosecurity practices in action when I have the Florida Department of Agriculture people here to conduct the NPIP or National Poultry Improvement Plan testing, which includes blood tests and throat swabs for avian influenza. The agent has to dress in a disposable top coat, disposable footwear, and rubber gloves to keep my flock safe from anything she may have come in contact with on another farm. And before she leaves my driveway, she sprays disinfectant on her truck’s tires as she did at the farm she visited before getting to mine.
To keep your own flock healthy, follow these practices:
- Keep bird feeders for wild birds away from your chickens. Wild birds can carry diseases to your flock.
- Use hand sanitizer before and after handling birds.
- If you buy new birds, quarantine them for up to 30 days before adding them to your flock to make sure they are not sick and do no make any others in your flock sick.
It is also a good practice to keep visitors away from your flock so they can not expose them to infection, but I recognize it is sometimes necessary to have people around your flock.
Disinfectant Mat for Biosecurity
How It Works
With that in mind, we're offering a review of Revival Animal Health's disinfection mat. This is how they the company's website describes the product:
“Just place mat on a level surface—mesh foam side up—and pour liquid sanitizer or disinfectant directly onto mat. The foam layer absorbs the liquid, allowing the mat to act as a disinfectant dispenser when stepped on. Its sturdy, impermeable poly tarp bottom keeps liquids in and toxins out. Sleek design minimizes tripping hazard and makes clean up easy. Place at entrances and exits so shoes get sanitized going in and coming out!”
I have tried it out and agree with this description. I called the company to talk to them about the mat and also found out it can be used both indoors and outdoors. They told me that fresh disinfectant should be added once a week or so, and if used outdoors, then after a rain, too.
The disinfectant kit includes a gallon of Oxine® AH and a pound of citric acid crystals. You mix it together to activate, let sit for 5 minutes, then mix into a gallon of water. Then, pour it onto the mesh section of the mat, and you are all set.
Oxine AH is an effective agent against several strains of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, parvovirus, and more. Its effectiveness surpasses that of other common disinfectants including chorine bleach, quaternary ammonium, peracetic acid, and iodophors. Oxine AH is registered with the EPA and approved for use on organic operations through the Organic Materials Review Institute.
When I spoke with Josh Van Muyden, Revival’s national brand manager, he told me that Oxine AH can be used by itself, but when used with the citric acid crystals, it strengthens the Oxine and makes it work faster and enables it to penetrate fecal material. The mat can also be used with other disinfectants such as Rescue Disinfectant and/or Trifectant as alternatives.
The Mat in Use
I set the mat up in front of our hatchery building and added the disinfectant as directed. It was that easy. Now, I have confidence as people walk into the hatchery to pick up their chicks that their shoes are sanitized before they come in. You can’t put a price on peace of mind like this! If you may have visitors near your birds, this product can help protect your flock.
Disinfecting Mat, $54.99
Revival Animal Health, Inc.
1700 Albany Place SE
PO Box 200
Orange City, Iowa 51041-0200
Implementing biosecurity practices helps protect your flock from contracting diseases, but what measures are you taking to protecting yourself? Learn more about preventing disease transmission from your chickens here.