General Producer Guide - National Avian On-Farm Biosecurity Standard
Section 3 - Operational Management

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3.1 Mortality and Manure Management

3.1.1 Target Outcome - Daily procedures are followed with respect to dead birds including collection and removal from the production area.

Producer Guidance

Mortality management includes the activities below, all being performed in a biosecure manner:

  • prompt collection of mortality;
  • removal of mortality from contact with the flock; and
  • disposal of mortality (reduced exposure to the flock).

Recognizing that production systems vary greatly, mortality management may occur as one seamless process or in a set of steps as follows:

  • Remove dead birds from the production area at least daily. Use rubber or disposable gloves for this activity.
  • Conduct the gathering and removal of dead birds separately from other bird or product handling operations.
  • Ensure that routine hand-washing takes place, followed by the use of a sanitizer after any handling of mortalities.
  • Ensure written instructions are available to staff, detailing procedural steps for mortality management.
  • Remove mortalities from the RAZ in covered containers. In some instances, mortalities may be disposed of in the RAZ by way of composting or incineration. (See section 3.1.3 for additional information.)
Examples of acceptable containers include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • a pail with a tight-fitting lid;
  • empty feed bags;
  • plastic bags;
  • a labelled, closed cart set aside, specifically for the collection and movement of dead birds, etc.

3.1.2 Target Outcome - A dead poultry storage system, which protects the carcasses from scavengers and insects until final disposal, is utilized on the premises.

Producer Guidance

  • In some instances, mortality will be temporarily stored prior to final disposal.
  • In mortality storage, the following are preferable:
    • Mortalities should be stored frozen. Mortalities that are not frozen should only be stored for short periods of time.
    • Storage should be located (sited) in a secure location away from the flock, feed, and water sources.
    • Access to the storage location should be controlled (restricted).
    • Storage should be in a manner that does not allow for escape of organic matter or exposure to the environment, and preferably in a sealable container.
    • Storage areas should be kept free of pests, rodents, or other vermin.
  • Carcasses should be disposed of as soon as possible.
  • Care should be taken to avoid accidental spillage of material from the carcass when in transit to the freezer or from freezer to final disposal site.
  • All containers used to collect mortalities should be cleanable or disposable.

3.1.3 Target Outcome - Carcass disposal, including any on-farm disposal (incineration, composting and burial), is done in accordance with provincial or municipal guidelines. If a rendering service is utilized then the pickup is performed to minimize any biosecurity risk.

Producer Guidance

Follow federal, provincial, and municipal rules at all times. They may limit options and placement.

  • Avoid disposing carcasses near any food or water sources or poultry housing.
  • Maintain biosecurity measures when disposing carcasses.
  • Ensure that carcass disposal (no matter what method) takes place outside of the CAZ, with the exception of the collection of carcasses for rendering, freezing, or RAZ composting. (See subsequent sections, "Off-farm rendering" and "On-farm incineration.")
  • Ensure, with the exception of off-farm rendering, that disposal sites are contained and demarcated. Some methods include fencing, signage and paint.
  • Control access to carcass disposal site or area.

Off-farm rendering

  • Store carcasses for rendering in a secure facility, and move to the access point or outside the CAZ when the rendering truck arrives or to a suitable container outside the CAZ for short-term holding, pending render pickup.
  • Bring out the carcasses to the truck, upon arrival, in sealed, leak-proof containers.
  • Clean and disinfect all containers, used to collect mortalities prior to their return into the CAZ and prior to re-entry into the RAZ.

On-farm incineration

  • Keep incinerators clean and well maintained.
  • Ensure that complete incineration occurs at every run.
  • Avoid exceeding maximum capacity when running the incinerator.
  • Do not locate newly installed incinerators on the same side of the barn as the air inlets.

Burial

  • Cover carcasses with enough soil or other material (in accordance with local regulations) to prevent access from scavengers.
  • Ensure that the burial site is in a location that is appropriate to soil type and water table.

Composters

  • Design and operate composters, including composting performed in manure piles, in an effective manner. Producers should be aware of variables affecting the composting process that may require adjustment, including nutrient composition, added substrate, temperature, pH, volume (load), placement of carcasses, moisture levels, and the need to turn piles if temperatures are not achieved and sustained. (See Annex J.)
  • Monitor temperatures to ensure that composting is working effectively.
  • Maintain composters to minimize the attraction of flies, rodents, and other animals.

Note: In rare instances, where flock size, production type, and/or geography limit disposal options and flock disposal occurs inside the RAZ by way of incineration or composting, the disposal system must ensure containment of mortality and separation from the flock in a controlled area.

  1. Physically separate the disposal system from the flock in an adjacent room or by a wall or barrier. This prevents exposure of the flock to pathogens in dust, debris, organic material, secretion, or excretions etc., which may be released during the disposal process.
  2. Ensure that the disposal system is the right size for the production type, volume, and mortality rates.
  3. Plan for storage and/or access of substrates that may be required for the composting process.
  4. Provide sufficient room for cleaning and storage of any dedicated equipment.
  5. Ensure that separate mortality disposal systems are present for each RAZ.
  6. Pay additional attention to pest management, as mortality can be an attractant for pests (flies, rodents, birds, and scavengers), which can transmit disease to the flock.
  7. Recognize that mortality disposal systems inside the RAZ increase the risk of flock exposure to pathogens and require a higher level of management to ensure that disease transmission does not occur.

3.1.4 Target Outcome - Manure is suitably handled and stored to minimize the risk of transferring disease organisms to poultry flocks.

Producer Guidance

  • Follow federal, provincial, and municipal rules at all times.
  • When manure is stored in a pit under the production area, and live birds are to remain on site, consider this pit area as part of the CAZ. Any movement into the pit area requires biosecurity practices (i.e. change of footwear and clothing).
  • Never use manure from an unknown or suspect source on the poultry farm. Avoid bringing any manure onto the farm, regardless of source.
Ideally:
  • Manure is stored in a dry location and on a non-porous surface.
  • Manure storage areas are controlled. These areas must be considered contaminated by contagious organisms. Limiting access to these areas will reduce disease transmission. They should be located away from barns to prevent transfer back into the barns by people, equipment, vehicles, or weather.
  • Manure is composted before its removal from the premises or spreading onto land.
  • Raw manure is not applied directly onto land. This is of significant concern if a disease outbreak has occurred recently in the barn.

3.2 Premises, Building, Equipment and Vehicule Sanitation

3.2.1 Target Outcome - A sanitation program is in place that applies to premises, building, equipment and vehicle sanitation.

Producer Guidance

  • The basis of the premises biosecurity control measures for buildings, equipment, and vehicle sanitation should be a set of documented procedures that clearly specify the requirements to ensure that the appropriate standards of hygiene are maintained and that risk of contamination is minimized.
  • These procedures should be followed at all times, with additional provisions if a disease outbreak occurs, either on the premises or within the region.
    • Always complete cleaning of surfaces before disinfection. Dust, manure, and other debris can act as a barrier and protect pathogens from disinfectants; therefore, cleaning first is essential. In any cleaning situation, if dry cleaning is followed by washing, the efficacy is improved.
    • Use only approved disinfection chemicals, at appropriate dilutions and not date-expired, when cleaning and disinfecting buildings or barns, equipment, and vehicles.
Ideally:

In a disease-response situation, washing and disinfection would become a necessity for all buildings, equipment, and vehicles. Cleaning processes would include vehicles coming onto the premises.

Barns

  • Barns that have been emptied should be dry cleaned initially, followed by pressure washing and disinfection.
  • Barn entryways, anterooms, egg rooms, and other service areas should be maintained clean and free of debris at all times.
  • Barn exteriors, including the areas around fans and their housings, should be kept clean and free of debris.
  • Where dirt floors exist, piling and composting of litter in the barn prior to removal, combined with heating the barn to 105°F/40°C) for two days, would reduce the risk of pathogen carry-over to the next flock. Every effort should be made to keep the rest of the barn clean.
Ideally:
  • Surfaces in the barn are impermeable and can be cleaned, pressure washed or steam cleaned, and disinfected. (Disinfection is essential if a barn is being cleaned after a disease outbreak.)
  • It is virtually impossible to clean or disinfect dirt floors. These should be avoided in the design of new barns.
  • See Annex D for barn cleaning and disinfection in inclement weather.

Equipment

  • Equipment should be selected for ease of cleaning.
  • All equipment brought into the CAZ from outside should be clean, free from debris, and preferably disinfected. Disinfection is vital if equipment has had previous contact with manure or live birds, or if live birds remain on the premises.
  • Equipment that is taken into a clean, disinfected barn should be cleaned and disinfected before entering the barn.
  • Equipment moved between barns, within a single CAZ, should be free of visible contamination before being used in another barn.
Ideally:
  • Most equipment used during production is dedicated to individual barns.
  • Cleaning procedures for equipment and buildings include both dry cleaning and a wet cleaning process.
  • Disinfection is performed following wet cleaning.
  • Water lines should be flushed under high pressure and disinfected when barns are empty. It is recommended to flush lines on a regular schedule during production.
  • Open drinkers in barns and range areas should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and left to dry before being reused.

Vehicles

  • Ensure that all vehicles entering the CAZ are visibly clean.
  • Clean vehicles that have had previous contact with poultry or manure off-site before entering the CAZ.
  • Disinfect high-risk surfaces of vehicles before entry to and on exiting the CAZ. The high-risk areas are wheels, wheel wells, and surfaces that have been in contact with poultry or manure.
  • Include the inside footrest area in the cleaning program when the driver or passengers have been to other sites with poultry present.
Ideally, or in response to a disease situation:

A cleaning program for vehicles would include the following:

  • the physical removal of debris by washing with detergent and/or high pressure water;
  • cleaning of the inside footrest area and steering wheel;
  • disinfection of all outer surfaces of the vehicle;
  • disinfection of wheel wells and tires before entry to and upon exiting the CAZ;
  • appropriate disinfectant contact time before proceeding;
  • vehicle washing area (concrete pad or other hard surface) cleaned of debris and disinfected between vehicles; and
  • collection and containment of wash water and debris according to local/provincial regulations.

3.3 Facility Maintenance

3.3.1 Target Outcome - A program for facility maintenance is in place.

Producer Guidance

Poultry production areas and equipment should be maintained and kept functioning properly to ensure the best environment for continued health and ease of cleaning.

  • Ensure that ventilation, feed, and water systems are functioning correctly.
  • Cover feed bins, and keep in good condition.
  • Keep storage areas in good condition.
  • Keep barn sides, roofs, and doors in good condition.
  • Design, maintain, and manage the premises to prevent feeding, shelter, or access for pest species.
  • Prevent wild birds and animals from entering the barn, and deter them from range areas. Pay specific attention to restriction of potential access points, such as windows, doors, pipes, walls, attics, vents, inlets, fans, etc.

3.4 Water, Feed, Bedding Management

3.4.1 Target Outcome - A water management program is in place to ensure that water is potable and meets local guidelines for poultry consumption.

Producer Guidance

Water source
  • Water provided to poultry should meet local guidelines for poultry consumption.
    • Municipal supplies should be deemed to meet this requirement.
    • Water from other sources should be analyzed yearly for bacterial content and other contaminating substances.
    • More frequent water testing may be required if a previous analysis failed to meet recommended guidelines or if advised by a veterinarian or municipality.
Water storage

When water is stored prior to use by poultry or between flock placements:

  • cover the container to prevent contamination;
  • ensure that water is appropriately treated; and
  • demonstrate that the water meets the minimum guidelines for poultry consumption, as advised by the local authority, by conducting annual laboratory test results.
Water delivery
  • Keep water delivery systems clean by routine flushing, descaling, and disinfecting of water lines and drinkers.
  • Design and maintain drinkers to prevent contamination of water at the point of use (i.e. ensure that they are not prone to litter or feed contamination).
Water treatment
  • Water treatment systems may be installed if the water source is suspect, or as a routine prevention method.
  • Surface water sources pose significantly higher risk for introduction of infectious organisms and are not recommended for use without a functioning treatment system.
  • At any time a treatment system is in use, it should be well maintained with chemicals used as directed. Chemical usage should be monitored and recorded.

3.4.2 Target Outcome - Feed is obtained and stored in a manner that minimizes the risk of contamination by pathogens.

Producer Guidance

Obtaining feed
  • Purchase finished feed from a source that can verify its safe origin, such as feed suppliers that follow established protocols under Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) or FeedAssure™ programs.
  • Inform feed suppliers of premises' biosecurity procedures, and confirm their willingness to comply.
  • Where practical, check feed condition and verify that it is pest-free on arrival. It is also good practice to keep feed samples, which can be tested if health problems later occur.
  • Rotate newly purchased feed appropriately in order to use the oldest feed first.
  • Avoid moving feed between farms.
  • Take the necessary biosecurity precautions when moving feed from one premises to another. Only feed from the feed bin should be stored or moved off-farm. (Discard any feed within the Restricted Area [i.e. feed pans]). Other biosecurity measures may include the following: examination of feed for contaminates (mould, pests, manure, feces, etc.), examination of the transport vehicle, and personal cleaning and disinfection.
Feed storage
  • Store feed in a dry, clean, and secure environment, away from wild birds and animals.
  • Cover feed bins.
  • Close feed systems.
  • Empty feed lines, pans and troughs, boots, and hoppers at cleanout.
  • Inspect feed routinely for moisture, spills, and pest activity.
  • Quickly clean up and properly dispose of any feed spills.

3.4.3 Target Outcome - Bedding is obtained and stored in a manner that minimizes the risk of contamination by pathogens.

Producer Guidance

  • Inform bedding suppliers of premises' biosecurity procedures, and confirm their willingness to comply.
  • Where appropriate, check incoming bedding materials on arrival for deterioration or pests, and keep it dry prior to use.
Ideally:

Bedding will be stored in a weatherproof and pest-controlled environment.

3.5 Pest Control Program

3.5.1 Target Outcome - An integrated pest control program is present.

Producer Guidance

An effective integrated control program will ensure that the presence of potentially harmful pests, such as insects, rodents, and wild birds, is kept to a minimum.

General control methods for pests:
  • don't attract;
  • exclude (seal entry points);
  • exterminate (bait or trap); and
  • monitor for effectiveness and adjust.

These practices should be backed up by appropriate reduction methods, ongoing monitoring for pest activity, a response plan for signs of increased pest activity, and records of pest control activities, as follows:

  • Ensure that the CAZ is free of debris, which might provide shelter for pests.
  • Reduce or eliminate any features that could provide shelter, breeding grounds, roosts, nesting sites, or feed sources attractive to rodents and wild birds. For example:
    • nearby standing water;
    • spilled feed;
    • nearby manure storage;
    • unsealed mortality storage;
    • open compost; and
    • any accumulation of debris or tall vegetation.
  • Exclude predators and pets from the RAZ.
Rodent-specific points
  • Maintain a 1m-wide (3 feet) rodent barrier strip - using shale, gravel, bare earth, or extremely short vegetation - around each barn, and ensure that it is free of debris.
  • If possible, maintain an additional 3.5m (12 feet) zone, outside the rodent barrier strip, free of debris and tall vegetation.
  • Position bait stations and traps close to barn walls at entry points around the barn perimeter and inside the service area.
  • Renew or replace rodent baits regularly, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Ensure that rodenticides are approved, used in accordance with the label, and kept inaccessible to the flock.
Insect-specific points
  • Position insect traps or electrocuting devices at insect entry points and in areas requiring specific control.
  • Renew or replace insect-control products and devices regularly, according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Ensure that insecticides are approved for use near poultry.
Range-specific points
  • Keep the range area free of debris that might shelter pests.
  • Use closed or covered feeders and drinkers where possible. Moving feeders and drinkers regularly will help discourage pests.
  • Have sufficient covered or roofed space to house all poultry at times of risk (an "enhanced biosecurity state").
Ideally:

The location will house poultry with sufficient space, no droppings will fall from overhead, and no small wild birds or rodents will have access. This could include housing with a solid roof and sides, but other materials, such as weld mesh, windbreak netting, and tarpaulins, are effective.

  • Appropriate fencing, deterrent or scaring devices or traps (as per provincial guidelines) may be used for predator control.
Ideally:
  • Construct fencing such that predators are unable to dig under the fence to gain entry or to climb over the top of the fence.
  • Ensure that the fence is of sufficient mesh size to stop predators from climbing through.
  • Some pests may be more problematic in some regions or operations, due to differences in geography, climate, or building structure.
  • Additional pests not listed here may require control measures to ensure adequate biosecurity.

3.5.2 Target Outcome - Garbage is effectively and safely disposed of.

Producer Guidance

  • Use garbage cans or bins with tight-fitting lids and that are lined inside with plastic bags to reduce odours (attractive to pests and predators) and to help keep the cans or bins clean.
  • Provide garbage bins at the access points to the RAZ for disposable clothing and foot coverings.
  • Keep garbage storage areas clean and maintained to limit insects, rodents, and scavengers.
  • Position long-term garbage storage outside the CAZ.
  • Dispose of garbage and household waste regularly, in accordance with provincial and municipal regulations.

3.6 Biosecurity Program and Training

3.6.1 Target Outcome - All people working on the premises are knowledgeable of, and understand the rationale behind and importance of, biosecurity and biosecurity protocols.

Producer Guidance

  • Owners or keepers of poultry should ensure that all family and other workers are adequately trained before starting work, and that they have a general understanding of the processes of biosecurity, not just measures related to their own tasks.
  • Someone who is properly trained will adopt biosecurity procedures as routine and provide suggestions for improvement. Equally important is ensuring that contractors and visitors abide by the control practices.
  • The Standards document and this Guide can be used as reference material for such training. Provincial agriculture extension or poultry industry information seminars and workshops may also be available.
  • A record of training should be kept for each worker.
Examples of training include the following:
  • attending seminars or workshops;
  • working under direct supervision;
  • reviewing written instructions, or standard operating procedures (SOPs) - Target Outcome 3.6.2 provides further guidance;
  • training using the Standard and this Guide as a template; and
  • formal qualifications.
Examples of records include the following:
  • title and/or certificate of attendance for seminars, workshops, courses attended;
  • individual training records, detailing training given and dates; and
  • a signed confirmation from each staff member that SOPs have been read and understood.

3.6.2 Target Outcome - All people working on the premises have reviewed the applicable biosecurity-related instructions as needed, based on their assigned tasks.

Producer Guidance

Development of Standard Operating Procedures

To ensure people understand how to complete their assigned tasks, written instructions or SOPs should be developed. These are step-by-step explanations of how to perform a task from beginning to end.

  • SOPs relating to flock health management should be developed with the input of a veterinarian.
For example:

SOPs for mortality handling and disposal should include the following:

  • times for daily mortality collection;
  • mortality handling procedures, including hand sanitation;
  • mortality transfer from the RAZ to storage or disposal site;
  • procedures for the removal of birds for off-site disposal; and
  • compost procedures, including pest control, time spent at and temperature of the compost site (if composting is disposal method used).
Reviewing SOPs with staff
  • Review written instructions annually with staff as re-training or as a reminder to ensure continuous improvement and quality control.
  • Provide all farm staff with copies of, or access to, the SOPs.
  • Review SOPs prior to new staff starting work.
  • When work commences, review SOPs again with the new staff and address any questions.
  • Display SOPs or procedures, with accompanying rationale, at the entrance to the RAZ or in employee rest areas.
  • Review SOPs prior to new staff starting work.
Ideally:
  • SOPs will be reviewed annually for relevance and clarity of content.
  • There will be SOPs including, but not limited to, the following:
    • access procedures for CAZ and RAZ;
    • moving between barns;
    • building cleaning and disinfection procedures;
    • vehicle and equipment cleaning and disinfection procedures;
    • the pest control program;
    • flock health monitoring and response;
    • mortality handling;
    • mortality disposal;
    • manure management; and
    • self-quarantine procedures (Annex C).
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