Managing disease risk requires the input of a number of groups and individuals (and some luck as well). Fortunately, luck favors the prepared mind and an ounce of prevention really is the best bet in maximizing a grower’s chances of excluding damaging disease. It must be realized that bacteria and viruses are everywhere and low-grade (subclinical) disease is always with us. As stewards of these living things that we manage, we must control the environment in such a way that the birds are comfortable and stress is limited. This reduces the chance that an opportunistic organism already in the house will take off and cause a problem. By the same token, many of the really deadly poultry diseases are not present in our houses and prevention (exclusion) is the best method of avoiding problems.
     From the prevention standpoint, a many-pronged attack is necessary to minimize the threat of disease. A short list of topics would look something like this:
     Alabama has a number of regions of the state that show concentrated areas of poultry production. The potential for catastrophic spread of a devastating disease organism exists and can not be counted out. Over the years, only a tight control of disease threats by a number of groups (growers, integrators and allied industries) will keep Alabama’s poultry industry from being decimated by the worst of the viral diseases (avian influenza, Exotic Newcastle disease). Experiences in the state with laryngotra-cheitis (LT) have given many the idea of just how crippling a disease outbreak of this type can be.
     The following websites may be of interest to those wishing to learn about poultry disease biosecurity. Many relate strictly to poultry, while others cover a broader base of disease prevention. Both domestic and international sites give a range of views on how companies and individuals worldwide are approaching this important area of concern:

Poultry Biosecurity--U.S. Poultry and Egg Association: http://www.poultryegg.org/

Poultry Biosecurity--Virginia Tech: http://www.agriculture.about.com/gi/dynamic/
offsite.htm?site=http://www.ext.vt.edu/pub s/poultry/408%2D310/408%2D310.html

Poultry Biosecurity--Nova Scotia: http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsaf/elibrary/archive/liv es/poultry/health/biosec2.htm

Poultry Biosecurity--U.C. Davis: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vetext/INF-PO_Biosecurity.html

Poultry Biosecurity--Antec international-U.K.: http://www.antecint.co.uk/main/poul-bio.htm

Poultry Biosecurity for Small Flocks-U.C. Davis: http://www.vmtrc.ucdavis.edu/s_bi osec.html

Poultry Biosecurity Resource Forum-U.C. Davis: http://www.vetmed.usdavis.edu/vetext /INF-PO_Forum/

American Feed Industry Association
Biosecurity Awarness Guide:
http://afia.org/Biosecurity_Guide.html

Agriculture Biosecurity (Western Australia): http://www.agri.wa.gov.au/programs/app/

Biosecurity in Livestock Production (Manitoba, Canada): http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/a nhealth/jaa03s00.html

USDA-APHIS Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ceah/

University of Florida: http://jefferson.ifas.ufl.edu/ag_page/live-stock_biosecurity.html

1. Grower controls on-farm disease introduction.
2. Integrator provides clean feed and chicks
3. Integrator controls threat of disease transmission in all company personnel and equipment that visit the farm
4. Necessary visitors must use safety precautions.
5. Vaccination to protect birds if warranted.
Specifically, growers need to monitor the following areas to minimize disease risk:
1. Exclude/control wild birds, rats, mice, flies and litter beetles. All can bring in viral and bacterial diseases. They also remain as a disease reservoir between flocks.
2. Control and document visitors of all types (neighbors included).
3. Require visitors to wear disposable boots if the house is entered. Disposable coveralls and hairnets may be necessary with some classes of poultry and during regional disease outbreaks.
4. Use disinfectant footbaths and keep
them fresh/clean. Police usage by employees and visitors.
5. Disinfectant spray of tires may be warranted if many farms are visited (equipment repair, propane delivery, dead bird pickup, cleanout crew) or if there is a disease outbreak in the area.
6. Clean/disinfect all equipment leaving or entering the farm (poultry and nonpoultry uses). Non-poultry related equipment borrowed from or lent to other farms containing poultry (commercial, backyard, emus, migrating waterfowl) can be a risk.
7. Remember disease risks when visiting local restaurants and stores that are frequented by other poultry producers and service personnel. Change clothes and shoes before visiting houses again.
8. Think of poultry links associated with other agricultural businesses on the farm and take appropriate actions to avoid disease introduction (beef cattle transactions, crop farming, crop consultants).
9. Use house management (ventilation, cooling, drinker management, litter quality) to minimize stress on the birds, a healthy immune system will help birds fight off the moe common disease problems.