Canadian Poultry Magazine

PIC Update: Cleaning and Disinfection

By PIC   

Features New Technology Production

Determining an effective strategy to reduce the risk of disease

Whether or not you have a disease challenge on your farm, proper
Cleaning and Disinfection (C&D), is essential for the health of
your current, future and neighbouring flocks.

Whether or not you have a disease challenge on your farm, proper Cleaning and Disinfection (C&D), is essential for the health of your current, future and neighbouring flocks.  Always refer to your on-farm food safety program. Continuing media coverage of avian influenza worldwide has increased the scrutiny of poultry, poultry operations and avian diseases in general.


Ontario has had its share of disease challenges over the last year. This list includes Infectious Laryngotracheitis, (ILT), Swine Influenza in Poultry, Infectious Bursal Disease, Inclusion Body Hepatitis, Coccidiosis, Necrotic Enteritis, Botulism and salmonella infections.


What’s in your Barn?
When dealing with disease causing organisms, it is important to know what they are so that you can come up with an effective strategy. Bacterial (gram positive or negative), viral, algal, fungal and coccidial organisms all can cause infections. In some cases you may also be dealing with an inorganic reason for poor bird performance that may have nothing to do with a contagion. Poor water quality/flow, feed challenges, synthetic toxins, environmental and animal stresses and poor management can all have a negative impact on the bottom line. When the challenge has been identified, then an action plan can be formed and implemented.  All of the above reasons are why you need to constantly re-evaluate your C&D program.

Five Steps for Cleaning and Disinfecting:

  • Step 1 –Treat for Pests: Control vectors and reservoirs for disease such as darkling beetles, rodents and wild birds by preventing their entry and/or eradication.
  • Step 2 – Remove All Manure: A proper compressed air blowdown and manure removal is essential.

Organic matter can harbour vast amounts of pathogens so it is important to remove dust from ceilings, walls, heaters, electrical conduits, the top of water and feed lines, ventilation inlets, exhaust fans, motors and shutters.

  • Step 3 – Wash All Equipment and Facilities: A best management practice is to wash with a suitable detergent followed by a disinfectant to further reduce the pathogen load.  While many excellent products are available, it is important to choose the right product for each job.
  • Step 4 – Disinfect: You must ensure that the proper concentration and contact time are known and applied to achieve disinfection. Rotation of disinfectants such as formaldehydes, phenols, quaternary ammonias and acids is advised and be sure to follow labelled directions for the products that you are using.
  • Step 5 – Fumigate: Your barn cleanout may include fumigation. Fumigation should occur at least once a year or as required. Proper moisture on surfaces and timing is important to ensure adequate results from fumigation.

When using chemicals such as cleaners, disinfectants or fumigants, remember to be aware of and use appropriate health and safety precautions to protect the health of your and your employees.

If you hire a crew to clean out your barns, discuss with them their operating procedures regarding the equipment they will bring onto your farm and their biosecurity measures. Also important are their methods of blowdown, manure removal, washdown and disinfection, and the products that they will use.

Management and Biosecurity Tips
All your premises C&D efforts are wasted if your inputs are a source of contamination. Health of incoming birds, cleanliness of feed, water and bedding all have direct effects on the health and performance of your flock. 

Flock Management
Once chicks, poults or pullets are placed in the barn, their current health status is the starting point of your management strategy. Sick or poor performing animals can act as reservoirs, shedding pathogens into the environment. Flock health checks and a strong culling policy will help ensure that the clean barn you started out with will stay clean.

Feed Management
Pelleted feeds are made under strict manufacturing processes and are tested regularly for contamination. Avoid sources of contamination of the feeds once in the feed bin.  Materials left in feed pans, feed lines or feed bins can be sources of infection. One step you can take to prevent contamination of feed bins is to install bird-proof screens on exhaust vents.

Water Management
Water lines should be regularly cleaned and flushed. Water should be tested at least twice a year for bacterial contamination. At least two samples should to be taken each time, one from the wellhead to determine the health of your well and the other from the watering device that the birds use. This determines the cleanliness of your water distribution system.  If you are using chlorine products, make sure that the pH of the water is maintained within the 6.0 and 7.0 range. This will maximize the disinfection ability of the chlorine. If necessary, add acidifiers to the water before the chlorine.

Bedding Management
Bedding materials need to be clean and absorbent as well as mould and dust free. Bedding is used not only to provide a level of comfort for the birds, but also to absorb moisture. A correctly bedded barn can have a direct effect on the ammonia level later in the flock cycle.

Biosecurity Management
Controlled, clean access to the production facility is one of the most important ways to prevent introducing infection to a healthy flock. Personnel movement through a multi-age complex should be from the youngest birds to the oldest. Avoid movement of dirty equipment from operation to operation. Proper biosecurity is essential in keeping your flocks healthy, productive and profitable.

The pathogen load will never be zero on your premises; however, you should make efforts to maintain a minimal level. Pathogen level is a factor of risk management and food safety. Acceptable loads will vary depending on the nature of your operation.  Speak with your poultry veterinarian or a knowledgeable industry representative about types of C&D products available that would suit your operation.

For more information on Cleaning and Disinfection, refer to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website, , or call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre toll free within Ontario, 1-877-424-1300.

PIC’s Picks
By Tim Nelson, PIC Executive Director 

2009 PIC Grant Competition Results
The following research projects were granted funding following the 2009-10 call for proposals.
The total investment in research and education in 2009-10 is as follows:

Research Projects (open call)    $335,650.00
Extension and Education        $95,000.00
Poultry Program Team        $150,000.00
Commissioned project work    $70,000.00
Total                $650,650.00

Research watchers will note that this list represents a significant reduction in the number of projects funded. The reduced list reflects PIC’s focus on projects that support our strategic direction and meet our quality standards. While many worthy projects did not quite make the cut because the funds ran out, there were proponents who clearly had not read the guidelines or did not believe that PIC is looking more closely at the quality of the applications we receive. Some applications were excellent and some were, to be quite frank extremely poor with the general standard of application being mediocre. Also this year applications from researchers who still had outstanding reports at the time of assessment were discarded. It was apparent from the quality of some applications in 2008 that some researchers have taken PIC funds for granted in the past.  In 2009 we turned this around, the bar was higher and will remain so from this point forward. Many congratulations to those of you who received funds, we look forward to working with you and better luck next time to those who didn’t.

Full Funding
Bill Van Heyst, PhD, P. Eng.
An integrated assessment of air quality impacts from the poultry industry – Year 2
Patrick Boerlin
A preliminary investigation on the genetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance of Enterococcus cecorum from diseased and healthy chickens
Deborah Stacey, PhD
Advancement of poultry disease spreading modelling
Shayan Sharif, DVM, PhD
Development of novel vaccine formulations for enhanced immunogenicity and protective efficacy of poultry vaccines
John F. Prescott
How does clostridium perfringens cause necrotic enteritis?
Michele Guerin
Enhanced surveillance for viral and bacterial pathogens in commercial broiler chicken flocks in Ontario
Steve Miller
Determination of the genetic basis for traits associated with liveability in commercial turkeys

Partial Funding
Andrew A. Olkowski
Study to define factors predisposing broilers to heart failure

Dr. Bernhard Benkel
The development of genetic markers for persistency of egg production and egg shell quality at the end of an extended laying period

Carlos G. Leon-Velarde, M.Sc., PhD    Evaluation of environmental salmonella distributions from layer and pullet operations


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