Biosecurity programs that prevent the introduction of avian pathogens are an all-important aspect of layer health management, but one that is often not routinely reviewed or given its proper share of capital input. High-risk activities that require attention to details of equipment sanitation, providing people with clean clothing and footwear, and/or setting up physical decontamination areas. These activities include bird moving (point-of-lay pullets, spent fowl, fill-in birds), egg handling materials (pallets, reused egg flats), vaccination crews, beak-trimming crews, welfare auditing, veterinary visits, flock supervisor visits, repair person visits, and so forth.
Proper cleaning and disinfection of pullet houses, usually with dry cleaning followed by wet washing and disinfection, are required for Marek's disease prevention. Decontamination of layer houses between flocks is also important to reduce exposure to disease agents, including Se, from the previous flock. Water line cleaning using citric acid followed by chlorine sanitation,1-6-1 both between flocks and during lay, is an underused tool to aid in reducing bacterial infections by reducing exposure to bacteria that cause the intestinal microflora balance to become upset or that infect the birds directly with disease-causing bacteria.
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