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5 Steps to Prevent Influenza in your Poultry Farm

Poultry birds are easily exposed to diseases and it is important that they are kept away from them as much as possible.

Avian Influenza/Bird Flu is a common, highly contagious viral disease with a 100% mortality rate in domestic fowl.

While all types of birds are susceptible to this virus, it occurs mostly in chickens and turkeys. It can easily be transferred into your poultry by migrating chickens, hence the need to be careful.

The tips provided can help poultry birds in general, yet we use the word ‘chickens’ since it is one of Nigeria’s most popular poultry bird.

To avert high risks of reduction in poultry and unplanned mortality costs, here are five things you should do to keep your farm Influenza free:

1. Farm size and regular cleansing

A bigger poultry farm size allows your chickens to roam freely. A proper space requirement is 2 to 4 sq. feet per bird, depending on your chicken type. Competing for more space stresses them out, so you might want to allow them as much space as possible.

Also make sure to regularly keep their spaces clean. Change beddings and shavings to a new set over specific periods of times – like six months intervals.

Cleaning prevents a build-up of parasites and any other diseases. It also helps to keep disease-carrying elements in check.

2. Healthy food and water
Make sure to have your chickens’ food and water in hanging containers and within their reach. Keep food far away from their poop or beddings as they might fall ill easily.

Ensure you clean spilled food and even the containers before replacing them with new ones.

Constantly check your chickens’ food and water containers daily for dirt, cleaning or replacement. Constant intake of clean food and water keeps them healthy.

Chickens won’t drink dirty water and you don’t want them dehydrated.

A good feed should contain about 20% proteins, amino acid for growth, corn for energy, additional vitamins and sufficient but not excessive fats and carbohydrates.

3. Quarantine and vaccination

Are you bringing in new chickens? Simply prepare for the appropriate poultry size and quarantine them before they meet their new housemates. New chickens are external until they are quarantined. Quarantine them for 7 to 30 days.

While checking the new chickens for possible illness, it is equally important to constantly vaccinate the old ones especially if there have been disease outbreaks in your area.

4. Daily check-up and treatment
Conduct daily check-ups on your birds for any unhealthy symptoms, to catch potential sickness before it’s too late.

Check for:
Lethargic behaviour
Difficult breathing
Abnormal stools, blood in stools or worms

If you notice any of these symptoms in your birds, try administering some “first aid” solutions you are familiar with.

Isolate these chickens to avoid infecting the healthy ones, and then wait a couple of days to check for improvements. If symptoms persist, get them checked out and treated by a veterinarian.

5. Visitor hygiene

Ensure visitors wash their hands clean before touching your birds or going near them. Make sure they also have clean clothes and shoes on as diseases are also contagious from humans to birds.

The slightest foreign matter could bring in agents of harmful diseases to your birds without your knowledge.

Do you have any other tips and ideas? You can tell us in the comment box.

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