Chicken Health For Dummies
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Biosecurity is a set of practices — things you do every day— that helps keep infectious organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, out of your chicken flock. If a disease-causing organism manages to find its way into your backyard chicken flock, the same biosecurity practices can help prevent the spread of the disease between your chickens, or the spread outside your flock to someone else’s chickens.

Biosecurity is the most important thing you can do to protect your chickens’ health, because if you wait to do something after an infectious disease shows up, you’ll find it extremely difficult, maybe impossible, to eradicate a disease from your flock.

Here are important biosecurity measures that are practical for most backyard flock keepers:

  • Don’t mix chickens of different ages. Keep chickens of different age groups in separate pens.

  • Clean and disinfect equipment between uses for different groups of chickens. Disease-causing germs spread by chickens can linger for weeks to months on unwashed stuff, such as transport coops, feeders, and waterers.

  • Keep your chickens home. Don’t let them wander from the yard, or take them to places where birds mix, such as swap meets or shows, and then bring them back home.

  • Quarantine new chickens at least 30 feet apart from the rest of your flock for 30 days. Don’t let them join the rest of your flock unless they fly through the quarantine period in perfect health.

  • Don’t let your chickens mingle with other types of poultry, pet birds, or wild birds. Birds of a feather not only flock together, but they also share germs, mites, and intestinal worms.

  • Don’t share equipment with other flock keepers unless it has been cleaned and disinfected first. Dirty equipment, such as a transport coop or incubator, can carry disease causing germs from one flock to another. .

  • Limit visitors to your flock. If you do have visitors, ask them to wear clean shoes and wash their hands before interacting with your birds.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Julie Gauthier is board certified in veterinary preventive medicine. Rob Ludlow is the coauthor of Raising Chickens For Dummies and Building Chicken Coops For Dummies. He runs the leading chicken information resource on the web,

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