What is Biosecurity?Top
Biosecurity means taking steps to make sure that good hygiene practices are in place. This will help prevent the spread of disease.
Disease may not always be apparent, especially in the early stages.
Be clean when handling birds or moving between different premises. Preventing disease-causing germs or microbes from entering your premises is the key to flock health.
A good biosecurity routine is always essential – not just when there is a major disease outbreak.
What are the benefits?TopGood biosecurity:
- Helps keep out exotic poultry diseases such as Avian flu and Newcastle Disease
- Reduces the risk of zoonotic diseases such as salmonella becoming established
- Limits the spread of diseases and helps to protect your neighbours, public health and the countryside
- Improves overall flock health
- Reduces losses
How does disease spread?TopMicrobes travel from place to place via animals, vehicles, equipment, and people . Disease is spread through:
- Movement of poultry, people, vehicles and equipment
- The introduction of birds of low or unknown health status
- Contact with other flocks
- Using shared equipment and vehicles, which have not been effectively cleansed and disinfected
- Contact with vermin and wild birds
- Birds drinking from contaminated water sources
- Birds eating contaminated feed and
- Unsatisfactory cleansing and disinfection of vehicles, sheds, feeding troughs and other equipment. Many germs die in two or three days but, under certain conditions (such as cold damp surroundings), they survive much longer.
Even with a short, one-day survival, germs can travel several hundred miles when clinging to animals, people and equipment.
What Actions can I take?Top
- Feed and water free range birds indoors where possible to reduce mixing between your birds and wild birds.
- If you have free range birds you should plan how you will manage them if there is a need to isolate them from wild birds.
- Keep accurate and up-to-date records to ensure that your produce is fully traceable.
- If you have other people looking after your birds, give them the information and training they need to maintain strict standards of hygiene and biosecurity at all times.
How do I stop disease?Top
- Do not bring infection from a farm on your clothes, footwear or hands.
- Clean and disinfect vehicles after visiting a farm.
- Limit and control access to poultry flocks.
- Have pressure washers, brushes, hoses, water and an approved disinfectant available.
- Regularly clean and disinfect all crates, containers and other equipment before and after use.
- Minimise contact between poultry and wild birds.
- Prevent accumulation of standing water and remove spilled feed that could attract wild birds.
- Maintain buildings to ensure that wild birds do not nest or roost in them.
- Keep wild birds, dogs, cats, rodents or other livestock out of poultry buildings and feed stores.
- Have an active rodent and pest control system in place. Be vigilant for evidence of vermin. Monitor vermin activity by baiting and trapping.
- Supply only clean fresh drinking water to birds. Water lines and drinkers must be flushed through and cleaned regularly.
- Feed bins, hoppers and feeding equipment must be cleaned and maintained regularly.
- Feed silos and containers must be sealed to prevent animals and wild birds contaminating feed.
- Feed should only be obtained from a supplier that operates in accordance with relevant Defra Codes of Practice.
- Damaged eggs, dead birds, litter and manure may carry disease. Dispose them promptly and properly.
- Disinfect the coup and all equipment (including ducting, drains, etc.) and carry out rodent and other pest control. Cleaning equipment and protective clothing should also be cleaned and disinfected.
What should I consider when buying new stock?Top
- Make sure you know the health status of any birds you are buying or moving.
- Incoming stock should be isolated from the rest of the flock initially.
- Only place new stock in facilities which you know have been cleansed and disinfected.
- Keep isolation buildings separate from other poultry buildings. Use separate equipment when handling isolated stock.
- Wash hands and boots before going back to your main flock buildings.
- Raising different types of fowl can be risky from a disease point of view. Microbes that cause little or no harm to one type of fowl can be devastating to another. For example, influenza viruses, though common and usually not bothersome in waterfowl, can produce severe disease in chickens and turkeys.
What else can I do?Top
Be vigilant! Look out for signs of disease in your flock. Increased mortality, falling egg production and respiratory distress may be early signs of a disease problem. If you suspect disease, ask your veterinarian for advice as soon as possible. Some diseases can spread very quickly! Avian influenza and Newcastle Disease are notifiable diseases.
Always practice good biosecurity. You have a lot to gain if you do and much to lose if you don't.
Positive signs of health are bright eyes, red comb, dry nostrils, shiny feathers (with most of them there), good weight, clean feathers under the tail, and an alert and active manner.
Lack of feathers could be due to the annual moult (late summer/autumn) on any part of the body. Missing feathers on the tail could be due to other hens pulling them out due to mineral deficiency or stress.
Lack of feathers on the neck sides may be due to the other hens or the de-pluming mite.
Broken and/or missing feathers on the back of the neck and back of the females may be due to over/vigorous attention from the male bird.
How do I inspect a chicken for health problems?Top
Hold the bird so that it is balanced by resting its weight on your left forearm, its head under your left arm, its legs held between the fingers of your left hand with its tail pointed away from you.
This leaves your right hand free to inspect the bird for positive signs of health, and lice or mites.
What is Bird Flu?Top
Bird flu or avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds ranging from mild to severe form of illness.
All birds are thought to be susceptible to bird flu, though some species are more resistant to infection than others. Some forms of bird flu can cause illness to humans.
How do I stop feather picking?Top
The tendency for feather picking varies widely among different breeds of chickens. Commercial flocks generally use beak-trimming to reduce the birds' ability to harm one another.
Feather picking is increased by: overcrowding; malnutrition; and, inadequate feeder and water container space. Giving the birds access to free range space usually prevents feather picking.
Note: Mysterious feather loss is usually caused by molting or, if it's concentrated on the backs of hens, by roosters during mating. It may also be caused by feather lice. Molting is the natural process of replacing old feathers with new ones, and can also be triggered by stress.
I am getting shell-less eggs. What do I do?Top
Shell-less eggs are held together by the membranes alone. This may be related to a lack of calcium or vitamin D. Hens synthesize vitamin D from sunlight so this will not be a problem if they are free-range.
Eggshells require a lot of calcium. A feeder full of ground oystershells can provide the calcium they need.
Are A’Saffa products free of melamine?Top
Yes, A’Saffa products are free of melamine. A’Saffa poultry feed does not contain any wheat gluten, corn gluten, or concentrated rice. A’Saffa poultry feed contains only protein ingredients.
What does "natural" mean?Top
Our poultry is natural, containing no added hormones or steroids, artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring, chemical preservatives or any other synthetic ingredient. It's always handled without any fundamental alterations or exposure to radiation. It's all part of our effort to give you the most natural products possible.
Are your chicken products really hormone and steroid free?Top
Yes, A’Saffa poultry is always 100% natural and we never add hormones or steroids of any kind.
Are A’Saffa chicken injected with water to increase weight?Top
No, we don’t inject any kind of water or liquid to increase the weight of the chicken.
Are A’Saffa chicken products irradiated?Top
No, we do not expose our chicken to radiation (also known as irradiation) for the purpose of killing bacteria during processing.
Are A’Saffa Foods fresh products truly fresh?Top
It doesn't get any fresher. A’Saffa fresh poultry products are never stored below 26° F, so they're always delivered to your grocer fresh. And because we grow and process all of our poultry locally, you can always count on the freshness of our products.
Why do A’Saffa chickens have yellow colored skin?Top
Because they eat a nutritious diet high in corn. Our chickens have yellow skin pigmentation due to the amount of xanthophyll that yellow corn naturally provides.
What does "minimally processed" mean?Top
This means that our poultry is handled only as is necessary to clean it and make it ready for you to cook. The processing does not fundamentally alter the raw poultry. It's all part of our efforts to give you the most natural product that we can.