When people hear the word bio-security, they don’t tend to think of farm animals first. Their minds will usually go straight to thoughts of terrorism and national security threats. The term bio-security actually has its roots deep in the livestock and farming community. To make it simple, “bio” means “life” and “security” is protection. So for us, bio-security is all about protecting the valuable lives of our animals. To do this we aim to prevent the spread of harmful organisms or lethal diseases.
Practicing good bio-security habits is not as difficult as it may seem. Protecting our animals should always be one of our highest priorities. Exactly what kind of animal you are raising doesn’t make a difference. High dollar show animals, large quantity producers or beloved backyard pets are all important. Turning these simple steps into a regular routine makes it easy to keep your animals safe.
- Quarantine sick animals. This is to try to keep anything that might be infectious from spreading from one animal to the next. Quarantining new animals or ones that have been off the property is also a good idea.
- Practice good manure management. Don’t let manure build up for long. Have a proper disposal plan in place. Manure attracts flies and is a breeding ground or host for some diseases.
- Clean and sterilize your equipment and animal housing on a regular basis. There are many high-quality disinfectant products that are made for animal use. They are safe and quite effective at destroying any outbreaks before they happen.
- Having special “barn” clothing and shoes is a top bio-security preventative. The simple habit of not wearing clothes that you’ve worn to town can make a huge difference. This especially includes the clothes you’ve worn to the feed store or to other farms. Disease is many times brought onto your property by you, your vehicle and visitors. It is a good idea for visitors who interact with your animals to have “sterile” clothing as well.
- Keep a close eye on all of your animals for any changes in their behavior. This is the first indication that something is wrong.
Become proactive and practice good bio-security. By staying vigilant, you can help keep disease from coming to your property. After all, you are protecting the lives of your animals and maybe even your own livelihood.