Farmers storing grain and other animal feeds are being reminded to assess biosecurity measures against bird flu.
This winter has seen a number of confirmed bird flu cases – both in commercial poultry flocks and in wild birds. Without thorough protocols in place, feed stores and deliveries can create a vulnerable point for disease transmission.
“Avian flu is spread through bodily fluids, so any situation where traces of faeces from wild birds come into contact with feed, or areas where hens peck, represents an opportunity for disease to be introduced to a flock,” says Fred Liddell, poultry specialist at Wynnstay.
Although most feed lorries are thoroughly hot washed and disinfected as they exit the mill, there is potential for vehicles to become contaminated on the journey. “This is why it is essential for poultry producers to have a biosecurity protocol in place for feed deliveries.”
Mr Liddell advises setting up a vehicle disinfection point for all sizes of visiting vehicles near to the farm entrance and away from any feed bins. Similarly, any spillages outside sheds and storage places should be cleaned up immediately to prevent attracting wild birds.
“There shouldn’t be any spilt feed beneath the feed bins, so frequently check the seals and replace any that are broken. General hygiene around the feed storage area is crucial. Regular cleaning of the concrete pads beneath the feed bins will prevent a build-up of feed dust or dirt.”