Biosecurity – Protecting Your Livestock

What is Biosecurity?

According to Google, Biosecurity involves procedures or measures designed to protect the population against harmful biological or biochemical substances.

Biosecurity means doing everything you can to reduce the chances of an infectious disease being carried onto your farm by people, animals, equipment, or vehicles. It also means doing everything you can to reduce the chance of disease leaving your farm.

Biosecurity measures can take care of all diseases and can be applied on all kinds of pet and livestock animals including canine, feline, poultry, fisheries, cattle, sheep and goat, etc and they include the following simple rules;

Keep animals in good condition

Keep your animals in good condition by consistently providing them with clean water, adequate and quality food, comfortable housing, timely vaccination and timely deworming.

Animals kept in bad conditions are more likely to succumb to diseases and are generally less productive.

Examples of reduced productivity include reduced meat and milk from cattle production and will invariably lead to a decrease in income for livestock farmers.

Keep animals in a protected, safe and noiseless environment

It is important that farmers keep their animals in a protected and safe environment. It is safer and better for animal farms to be away from noise and places that are densely populated For small-scale farmers including those with backyard farms, ensure you provide good housing and keep it isolated from the main house.

Practice Culling

When doing your rounds and check-ups on an animal farm/brood, any animal that is observed to be sick should immediately be removed and separated from the (apparently) healthy animals.

This is called Culling the animal.

Culling is the process of removing or segregating animals from a breeding stock based on specific trait or diseases. This is done to exaggerate desirable characteristics or to remove undesirable characteristics by altering the genetic diversity of the population

Culled animals should undergo medical check-up and be observed for changes – good or bad. Also when doing your observation rounds, it is safer for you to move from healthy animals to sick animals instead of the other way round. This would help you to control disease transmission.

Control all farm entries and movement

Make sure you control all entries and movement to your farm especially with regards to human movement, other external animals (alive or dead), tools, items, vehicles, equipment, feed, manure, etc.

Ensure that the place where animals are situated is restricted and only authorized personnel can enter.

Also, from the main entrance, make sure you have changing rooms for farmers and visitors, disinfecting and washing of hands, legs, and equipment.

Other things like animal feed, equipment, live or dead animals, vehicles and manure must be stored or placed in restricted places away from the main farm.

Quarantine

New animals must be kept in a separate place for about 2 weeks before introducing and joining them with the remaining animals. This is called quarantine. Note that not all animals that look healthy are actually healthy. (That is why in medical terms, healthy animals are called “apparently healthy”). So the quarantine gives you the opportunity to monitor the animal for any sign of disease or ill-health.

For more on Biosecurity: Protecting your livestock don’t forget to follow our series ”Everything Livestock’’ as we explore the topic further.

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