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Reducing Exposure to Bacteria in the Environment
Maintaining clean and dry litter is paramount to preventing a variety of health problems in your flock. C. perfringens grows well in moist environments, so limiting bedding moisture levels will help to lower bacterial levels in the litter. Bedding also serves to insulate animals from stress induced by temperature fluctuations, which has been discussed. Nipple drinkers, if functioning properly, can reduce the moisture level of litter.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Cleaning and disinfection are vital practices that should be performed every time your flock is shipped. Even though coccidia oocysts and C. perfringens are very stable in the environment, the act of removing manure, power-washing all contaminated surfaces, and disinfecting the barn play a major role in knocking down pathogen numbers in the environment. Lower numbers of bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the environment mean the next crop of birds face lower disease challenges and are less likely to experience disease.
Again, this may differ for flocks that are Raised Without Antibiotics. It may be necessary to maintain a certain level of bacterial flora in the environment to manage disease. Discuss protocol development with your veterinarian to ensure the health of your flock.
The term biosecurity refers to those practices that act to limit the introduction and spread of infectious disease onto and within your operation. Having a set of practices in place that cover movement restrictions, equipment use and hygiene, clothing and footwear, visitor protocols, and quarantine are paramount to flock health for a variety of diseases.