Defend Your Operation with These Biosecurity Practices
What is biosecurity? Biosecurity are management practices that are used to prevent the introduction and spread of disease on your operation. Developing a biosecurity plan is an essential part of maintaining healthy livestock as well as profitability of an operation. When customizing a biosecurity plan you should work with your veterinarian, extension agent, family members, and all ranch employees to determine the risk factors associated with disease spread and how to prevent it. The biosecurity plan should be reviewed yearly and written down for everyone to follow it through.
These are biosecurity practices, and this list can be used to help develop a biosecurity plan for your operation.
Biosecurity practice #1: Maintaining a closed herd or flock.
- New animals pose the greatest risk to biosecurity on your operation so maintaining a closed herd or flock is important to try and keep out and eliminate disease spread.
- Avoid loaning, borrowing, leasing or showing animals.
Biosecurity practice #2: Purchasing healthy animals.
- When you do need to purchase a new animals it is crucial to purchase healthy animals from a reputable seller.
- Evaluate the animals you are purchasing as well as the entire herd or flock to make sure all animals are healthy.
- Ask seller for health records and history of herd/flock.
- It is not recommended to purchase animals from a livestock auction because there is no previous history of the animal. These animals are also exposed to a lot of other animals during its time at the livestock auction.
Biosecurity practice #3: Quarantine new animals.
- After purchasing your new animal it is essential to quarantine the new animals away from your herd or flock for one month. Show animals should also be placed in quarantine upon returning to your operation.
- Observe new animals daily for symptoms.
- Feed and water new animals last and disinfect after leaving the quarantine area.
Biosecurity practice #4: Isolate sick animals.
- Monitor all of your animals daily and know what is normal to help you identify what is abnormal. If one of your animals is showing clinical signs of being sick it is critical to isolate them right away and contact your veterinarian to treat the animal accordingly.
Biosecurity practice #5: Restrict access on your operation.
- Keep your gate closed to limit visitors and prevent vehicle traffic onto your operation.
- Post signs to restrict and prohibit access onto your operation.
- Make sure the perimeter fence is secure to prevent neighboring livestock from entering your premises.
Biosecurity practice #6: Practice good sanitation.
- Practicing good sanitation can go a long way when keeping your animals healthy. Clean and disinfect waters, feeders, equipment, truck, trailer, facilities, etc.
- Always provide clean water to livestock.
- Utilize feeders instead of feeding on the ground.
- Prevent overstocking and overgrazing pastures as this can lead to increase amounts of manure, parasites, and weeds in the pasture.
- Keep good personal hygiene. Good personal hygiene can help keep both you and your livestock healthy.
Biosecurity practice #7: Practice preventative management
- Maintain a good client and veterinarian relationship
- Work with your veterinarian to develop a customized herd health program.
- Provide adequate nutrition for age and stage of production (pregnant, lactating, growing, and maintenance).
- Provide your herd or flock with a stress free environment.
- Maintain good record keeping
For additional resources and help developing a biosecurity plan for your operation, please contact your County Extension Agent.