Preventing and Controlling Rodents When you have chickens there is a good chance at some point you will experience rats and mice. You don’t have to see them to know they are there. They cause damage to your buildings by chewing wires and destroying insulation, they spread over 45 diseases and can contaminate the feed and consume even more of it. There is no way of eliminating them completely but there are ways to make your barn area less inviting for rodents. Preventing rodents from moving in to your coop 1. Keep it clean. Don’t leave spilled food or old feed bags laying around. Use secure storage bins for feed like an old freezer, or metal garbage bins. 2. Keep the area around the coop clear of debris like old equipment, log piles, garbage or uneaten table scraps. Eliminate thick vegetation for 3 feet around buildings. 3. Mice can squeeze through a 0.6cm space and rats can get through a 1 cm space, so be sure to block off all entry into walls with course steel wool, hardware cloth or sheet metal. Don’t forget door cracks, broken windows, water hook–up’s and vents. Do you have rodents already? 1. Snap traps work well when baited properly. Rats prefer bacon, fish, meat, while mice like cheese, peanut butter, and seeds. Keep your traps out for at least 5 days as rats can take that long before they feel comfortable getting close to it. When trapping next to a wall set the trap at right angles to the wall with the trigger and bait closest to the wall. If you are using multiple catch traps keep the entrances holes parallel to the wall. Live traps work well this way too. 2. Rodenticides can be used if there is a moderate to large rodent population. Caution should be taken to prevent other animals from accessing the baiting stations along with proper disposal of any dead rats as they will be toxic if ingested by another animal. 3. Bait should be placed in a bait box where access is limited to rodents only. This also keeps bait dry and easy to refill. 4. When disposing of dead rodents always use gloves and place rodents in a tightly sealed bag or plastic container before putting in the garbage.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Cleaning and Disinfecting Backyard Poultry Flock Premises It is important to thoroughly clean and disinfect between flocks to reduce the risk of spreading disease to a new flock. C&D guidelines are outlined below: 1.Dry Cleaninga. Remove all equipment from the premises (feeders, waterers, etc.)b. Remove all organic material from the premises (litter, manure, dust, feathers, feed, nesting material, etc.)c. Safely dispose of organic material per municipal bylawsd. Scrape and sweep all surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings, nest boxes, etc.)e. If premise has dirt floors, the top 3 cm of soil can be removed and disposed of with the organic material. Litter amendments such as Poultry Litter Treatment (PLT) are recommended prior to placement. 2.Washinga. Wash surfaces with detergent, hot water and a pressure washer per manufacturer’s instructions.b. Soak equipment (feeders, waterers, shovels, buckets etc.) with detergent per manufacturer’s instructions. Scrub to remove all organic material. c. Rinse and allow all surfaces/equipment to dry thoroughly before applying disinfectant, usually about 4 hours. 3.Disinfectinga. Organic material (i.e. feces, dirt, etc.) cannot be disinfected! Ensure surfaces/equipment is clean before applying disinfectant per manufacturer’s directions (ensure proper concentration and contact time). 4.Downtimea. Whenever possible, ensure there is adequate ‘down time’ before placing new birds. A period of at least 3 weeks is recommended after cleaning and disinfecting.
Probiotics are now readily available and are a key component to a healthy flock. What are probiotics?Probiotics are a common name in most households these days and they have also made their way into the barn. For chickens they are described as a live microbial feed supplement that benefits the host animal by improving the balance of good bacteria in the intestines. They are easy to use, natural, and very cost effective. Probiotics can be administered via the drinking water and feed for adult birds, or fed to day old chicks after hatch in a gel form. A few species of probiotics ideal for poultry include: Lactobacillus sppBifidobacterium sppEnterococcus sppSaccharomyces sppBacillus sppAspergillus spp Why Probiotics?The purpose of probiotics is to maintain a healthy gut flora which helps prevent the growth of illness causing bacteria and helps to support an optimal immune system. Since chicks don’t nurse they don’t get colostrum at birth like mammals so when they hatch they have what is called a “sterile gut” and need to consume the feces of other chickens to introduce and build up their own gut flora. It takes about 2 weeks to develop a healthy gut flora and 3 weeks for a chick to develop a mature immune system. When chicks are hatched in an incubator they do not have access to feces rich in good bacteria but now with the addition of probiotics they can be supplemented. WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS?Fast establishment of beneficial gut microfloraRe-establishes balanced gut microflora during post-antibiotic applicationInhibits growth of bacteria like C. perfringens, E. coli, Salmonella and CampylobacterReduces incidence of wet litter and pasty ventImproves weight gainImproves feed conversionDecreases mortalityNo negative side effects, no withdrawal times When should I use them?Probiotics are beneficial for birds of all ages especially at hatch and during times of stress and can be incorporated into their diet as needed. A change in diet, catching and handling, predators, transport, feed withdrawl, and molting can all be triggers of stress which then can lead to illness. Antibiotic use also effects the numbers of intestinal bacteria both good and bad, probiotics help to keep them balanced.
Zoonotic Diseases Associated With Poultry
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