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How to Create a Contagious Disease Biosecurity Plan

Biosecurity, by definition, means a set of preventative measures to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases. Whether you are a new chicken owner or an experienced one, owners of any flock, no matter the size, should be conscious of biosecurity and have a plan to lower the chances of birds being exposed to poultry diseases such as Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) or exotic Newcastle disease. These diseases can be transmitted via through infected feces and urine, close contact with infected domestic or wild birds, and contact with contamintaed supplies or equipment. Learn how to prevent, observe and control the spread of disease in your flock.

Preventing the Transmission of Disease

Keep your poultry healthy, and limit the transmission of disease, by providing fresh feed, fresh water, cleaning and disinfecting, and providing plenty of ventilation and sunshine. Always tend young healthy birds first, followed by mature birds, quarantined birds, and finally sick birds last, to prevent disease transmission.

Feed & Water

  • Feed should always be stored in a clean dry place free of rodents and wild birds
  • Clean water and feed troughs daily
  • Know your water source
  • Limit exposure to birds and feed from other farms

Clean & Disinfect

  • Clean and disinfect your boots and clothing
  • Use insect/rodent control methods
  • Regularly clean and disinfect buildings, pens, and equipment.
  • Allow clean pens to remain empty for 24 hours or longer.
  • Clean and disinfect all shovels, brooms and dust pans after use.

How to Create a Contagious Disease Biosecurity Plan (cont.)

What To Do with Sick or Unhealthy Birds

To further prevent the spread of disease, keep sick poultry isolated from your healthy poultry and quickly remove and dispose of sick or dead birds. If possible, confine sick birds indoors during an outbreak. Also be sure to seek help from a veterinarian when more than one bird gets sick. Report outbreaks of sick poultry to The Department of Agriculture, and ask them to perform a post-mortem examination to determine what dieases are present.

Types of Disease Transmission

The transmission of disease may be prevented through good management practices. The four most common ways to transmit disease amongst your flock are: People, Equipment, Animals and Exhibition.


  • If allowing visitors, provide or require that they wear clean protective clothes and footwear.
  • Do not visit other people with poultry during outbreaks.
  • Do not visit commercial poultry operations or allow their employees to visit your poultry yards.
  • Sick people should not come into contact with sick poultry.
  • Do not go duck hunting or visit shorebird areas during disease outbreak.
  • When traveling, avoid all contact with livestock, poultry and other birds.
  • When returning from a trip to a potentially infected area/country, avoid contact with any poultry for 4 days.
  • Wash hands frequently — especially before and after handling any poultry.


  • Clean vehicles and trailers often, especially tires.
  • Separate off-farm vehicle areas from areas accessed by poultry.
  • Encourage buyers/haulers to meet at a neutral off-farm point or limit their access to your property.
  • Do not borrow or lend crates or equipment. If you do have to borrow, disinfect and clean, and allow to dry thouroughly before using.
  • Do not share incubator or incubate eggs from other flocks.


  • Quarantine all new birds for a minimum of 3 weeks.
  • Quarantine all returning birds for a minimum of 3 weeks.
  • Purchase only healthy birds, chicks or eggs from reputable sources
  • Do not purchase birds during outbreaks of disease.
  • Supply feed and water indoors to discourage wild birds.
  • Limit contact of poultry with other domestic animals, like dogs and cats.


  • Do not show when there is a risk of disease exposure.
  • Have your poultry properly tested for all health requirements.
  • Do not show any recently vaccinated poultry as these may transmit disease.
  • Report any unhealthy birds to the show management.
  • Wash your hands after handling someone else's poultry and before handling your own.
  • Quarantine your returning poultry for 3 or more weeks.

Potential Infection Points

Avoid high traffic locations that are likely to be visited by others with poultry, including feed stores, livestock and poultry auctions, shows, animal processing facilities, hardware stores, convenience stores, restaurants and fast food stores, and gas stations.


Make sure to keep all records of your biosecurity up to date, including proof of biosecurity training, biosecurity materials from state and federal Departments of Agriculture, a record of all poultry bought and sold along with the name of those selling/purchasing the poultry, copies of health paperwork from seller for all new poultry purchased, a health history for your flock, including all disease or health issues, date, treatment, and outcome. And lastly, record all vaccinations and include batch serial number, type of vaccine, and vaccination date.