‘Defending the flock’ from Newcastle and other diseases starts with proper disinfection

An updated campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture aims to limit the spread of poultry disease, which has producers paying attention after recent outbreaks of Newcastle disease in both commercial and backyard flocks alike.

The campaign, “Defend the Flock,” was first launched in 2016 by the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and aims to protect the U.S. poultry industry, which is one of the largest in the world. Defend the Flock was created as a response to severe disease outbreaks of recent years, including 2015’s outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. It has been used to respond to this year’s outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease.

“In 2015, I was deployed to Washington, Iowa and Minnesota and experienced firsthand the devastation caused to the commercial industry by this disease,” Dr. Alan Huddleston of APHIS said. “These outbreaks remind us all that poultry health can be fragile, and that we all need to work together to keep our nation’s poultry healthy.”

The latest version of the campaign brings new resources to those who raise poultry, including biosecurity protocol checklists, videos and other materials.

How to be biosecure: Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect

Raising birds in a confinement operation puts stress on each bird’s immune system. Producers can set up each new flock for optimal profitability by cleaning and disinfecting barns between flocks. Choosing cleaners and disinfectants designed for poultry farms can prevent any corrosion issues for equipment and housing.

Cleaning is an important first step in the disinfecting process, as it removes any visible material, such as dirt and organic matter, from the scene — along with many of the pathogens with it. Once the visible material is out of the way, the disinfectant can better do its job of stamping out the remaining microorganisms, finalizing the job.

Neogen offers an extensive array of disinfectants suited for animal production environments, including some that are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved for use against Newcastle disease.

  • PI Quat 20 is a 20% dual-chain quaternary ammonia disinfectant/sanitizer that can be used in processing plants, dairies, animal quarters, poultry farms, hatcheries and kennels. It can also be used to sanitize previously cleaned food-grade eggs in shell egg and egg processing plants.
  • BioSentry® 904 Disinfectant is a broad-spectrum disinfectant recommended for use on hard, nonporous surfaces.
  • DC&R® Disinfectant is a non-flammable and non-corrosive formulation for pens, hutches, feeders, waterers, cages and hauling vehicles and equipment. It’s especially suited for equipment that might harbor many pathogens in the farm, veterinary facility or elsewhere.
  • Orange Quat Destroyer is a dual-chain quaternary ammonia disinfectant/sanitizer that can be used in many kinds of facilities, as well as on vehicles.

The simple steps

Of course, there’s no ignoring the simplest steps that can also help prevent the spread of disease:

  • Washing hands and scrubbing and disinfecting boots before and after entering a poultry area
  • Keeping birds and property clean and disease-free
  • Not moving birds on or off the property if living in an infected area
  • Cleaning and disinfecting equipment and tires before moving them off the property

For more information on biosecurity in the poultry house, check out our series on water line disinfection in the poultry house here.

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