Canadian Poultry Magazine

Who’s Getting into Your Barn? Tips for controlling barn access

By Chanelle Taylor1 Dr. Michele Guerin1 Dr. Gregory Bedecarrats1 Sarah Thomson2 and Dayna Sills2 1 University of Guelph 2 Poultry Industry Council   

Features Barn Management Production Biosecurity Business/Policy Canada Pests Protection

PIC Update - September 2012

Farmers should set up a protective zone around the barn with clearly identified access points.

Keeping barns safe and secure is one of the best things you can do to keep the health and welfare of your birds in check.

Once poultry facilities are contaminated by pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, it can be extremely difficult and costly to correct. Therefore, it is imperative to stop micro-organisms from entering the barn in the first place.

“We want to make sure to keep whatever bacteria and viruses that are inside the barn area inside and anything that is outside, keep it outside,” says Dr. Mike Petrik.


According to experts, the most effective ways to control access to your barn are to:

  • set up protective zones around the barn
  • clearly identify where those zones are by using signs and/or barriers
  • set up an enclosed area (or anteroom) that:
  1. can be kept clean
  2. serves as a buffer zone between the exterior and interior of the barn
  3. prevents the entry of unauthorized people and animals

Biosecurity matters
Farmers should also set up a protective zone around the barn with clearly identified access points.1 This “Restricted Access Zone” (RAZ), should be a highly restricted area that is tightly controlled. The RAZ should be within a “Controlled Access Zone” (CAZ), which encompasses the entire property where poultry are housed.1

Give employees, service personnel, and visitors clear directions about where to go and what to do to when entering the CAZ and RAZ.1

The RAZ should also have visual and physical barriers (e.g., signs, doors, locks, etc.) to prevent easy entrance. It should be obvious to anyone entering the RAZ that these barriers surround areas where tightly controlled biosecurity protocols are in place and that they need to proceed with caution and look for instructions on how to enter appropriately.

“The farmer is the most common person to cross this barrier,” says Dr. Mike Petrik, so it is critical that the farmer follows – and enforces – these protocols.

Instructions can be posted in the anteroom with readily available booth and clothing, as well as hand washing stations to maintain proper biosecurity. This anteroom will also prevent wild and domestic animals from entering the barn.1

Keeping it consistent
Everyone who enters the barn (including family members, permanent or temporary employees, service personnel and visitors) must understand the importance of these barriers. Helping them understand why these are important, will help increase compliance and reduce the “overlooking” of procedures.1

Farmers should also strive to maintain a logbook inside the anteroom to monitor who is entering the barn, when they enter, and where they came from. This is crucial for tracking disease in case of an outbreak.1

“Many pathogens are brought into the barn on clothing, footwear, dirty equipment, and hands,” says Dr. Lloyd Weber. “Stations that contain barn-specific clothing where anyone entering the barn can change out of their street clothes into clothing that is only worn in the barn – to prevent the introduction of outside pathogens – should be set up and maintained.”

Lastly, separate barn-specific footwear and clothing (including a hat) and effective hand sanitation reduce the possibility of carrying bacteria that can be harmful to humans, such as Salmonella, into the farmhouse. Barn-specific clothing and equipment (e.g., shovels, tools, writing materials, buckets) will also prevent pathogens from spreading from your barn to neighbouring poultry farms2, which will thereby reduce the risk of disease transmission and outbreaks on other farms.3

If you keep your procedures and instructions quick and easy, employees and visitors will do it, says Sandy Brock, a broiler hatching egg producer.


  1. National Avian On-Farm Biosecurity Standard, Canadian Food Inspection Agency Office of Animal Biosecurity,
  2. Ontario Veterinary Biosecurity Initiative Protocol On-Farm Veterinary Biosecurity, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA),
  3. Practical Biosecurity Video, Poultry industry Council,

PIC’s Picks
By Tim Nelson, Executive Director
Planning and more planning – We’re at the end of two planning cycles at PIC. Both our business plan (three-year cycle) and the Industry Research and Education strategy (a five-year cycle) are due this year. The board of directors has reworked the PIC business plan and has concluded that a better understanding of “who does what” in Canadian poultry research will enable the PIC to work collaboratively with some “new” partners. Together, these groups can address problems and develop solutions that are then translated into education packages for possible direct application at the farm.

Our hope is that more farmers will want to hear about new technologies and attend industry events in order to do so.

When more farmers are taking advantage of new knowledge, and there is a robust system of creating knowledge to address specific issues, industry will be in a better position to respond to and prepare for emerging issues or crises.

This will also create a climate of confidence in the future of the Ontario poultry industry, among both producers and the industry at large and lead to a more positive employment environment for qualified personnel throughout our industry, including those in the R&D sector.

If an industry employs a range of highly qualified personnel across a variety of sectors and disciplines and has a broad stakeholder base, there is the potential to gain access to increased and more sustainable funding from a wider variety of sources than it could before. Industry investment will lead to government being prepared to invest in poultry, and as a result of the wider research discipline and stakeholder base, could increase overall investment by government in industry both directly and indirectly (via the university sector).

Consequently, the PIC has developed five major strategic objectives that it will pursue in the coming three years:

  • Increase our sustainable funding base by pursuing more diversification in our funding base
  • Ensure producers understand and appreciate the benefits of research
  • Be leaders in the development of a more efficient and robust Canadian poultry research and development system
  • Create avenues through which appropriately qualified personnel are recruited and retained by our industry
  • Continue to invest industry funds in research and education programs for the benefit of the poultry industry in Ontario.

Strategic Planning
Urgently seeking your opinions! – After our golf tournament in early September, the PIC will be seeking your input into what issues we should be concentrating our research and education investment efforts on through until 2017. This is not a task to take lightly. Research takes a long time to get started, to perform and to deliver results. It’s a long-term investment that needs careful planning.

Your input is essential because only you, the people working in the industry, can in any way predict what the future may hold and what we need to be planning and preparing to address through our research and education investment.

This is an initial notice for any of you who would like to submit your thoughts on what issues you believe deserve the investment of your valuable contribution. Please e-mail or call at 519-837-0284 with your suggestions.

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