Keeping a healthy food chain for your flock

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By having elaborate plans, farmers can keep diseases at bay and earnest maximum profit in poultry

Biosecurity in feed mills is an important part of the feed processing and manufacturing industry as the end results determine the overall health of the flock hence the gains made by the farmer. It is therefore essential to reassess and assess possible biosecurity risks.

The goal of the assessment is to prevent pathogen contamination in feed, ingredients, and transportation.

Once achieved, the second goal is to prevent the entry of a pathogen and finally to implement routine procedures on guidelines. The major practices in securing biodiversity are

  • Maintaining a dry area to cut off pathogen spread via water
  • Eliminating the spread of pathogens by sanitisation and use of appropriate products

Maintaining a dry area

The presence of dirty water or that left in the storerooms can be hazardous as they host vectors of diseases amongst them. Vectors are living organisms that can transmit infectious pathogens between humans, or from animals to humans.

Many of these vectors are bloodsucking insects, which ingest disease-producing microorganisms during a blood meal from an infected host (human or animal) and later transmit it into a new host after the pathogen has replicated. Often, once a vector becomes infectious, they are capable of transmitting the pathogen for the rest of their life during each subsequent bite/blood meal.

Standing water should be avoided at all costs, as it becomes a bacterial pool and a major vector of both viruses and Salmonella. Salmonella thrives on organic material such as dust because it provides food and an effective means for potential cross-contamination if contaminated dust enters biosecure areas

Areas, where water can collect, are the vehicle disinfecting station and the receiving pit, which must be dry and clean Any spillage should be cleared up immediately and before any further vehicle movement in the receiving pit area.

Dust, rodents, wild birds, vehicles, and foot traffic are also potential spreaders of bacteria and viruses.


Rodents, incests and birds are all hosts for bacteria and viruses pathogens are ingested, these vectors reside at the milling stations where they spread.

The day-to-day movement of people and vehicles can also spread pathogens throughout the feed mill. It is especially important to separate vehicles carrying raw materials from all other facility traffic.

Eliminating the spread of pathogens

All surfaces of the feed mill, including walls, bins, and floors, should be regularly cleaned. A properly managed feed mill sanitisation programme includes these important steps:

  • Clear out all unnecessary equipment, packaging and waste from floors and walls.
  • Remove debris and dust, eliminating spider webs and removing dust from mill walls, ledges and equipment such as electric motors. this step must be done by hand, using brushes, scrapers, shovels, brooms, and a vacuum to remove the dust particles.
  • Remember not to use water, which allows for bacterial growth, or compressed air for this step as this disseminates dust and potential pathogens through the mill environment.
  • Ensure that floors, walls, equipment, and machinery are clean and dry.
  • Disinfect with a method that contacts all surfaces such as fumigation (requiring specialised training and compliance with local legislation), thermal fog, and ozone generators. Aerosols and alcohol can also be used. Keep in mind that all disinfectants require a defined contact time to be effective. Familiarise yourself with the requirements of the disinfectant, including contact time, humidity, and effective temperature ranges.

By continually improving your biosecurity program will further reduce pathogen risk, maximizing the quality of feed delivered.

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