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Hygiene & Sanitation

As soon as the previous flock has been cropped/depleted, the house and equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Allow the house to remain empty for a minimum of two weeks before the next flock arrives. This reduces the buildup of disease-causing organisms. After the birds have been removed from the house, remove all equipment, and dampen the ceiling, wall, and litter with water. This minimises dust during litter removal. Remove all old litter and dispose of it at least 1.5 km from the farm.

Do not store old litter near the flock house, as this can lead to re-contamination of a house that has just been cleaned. All unused feed should be disposed of and stored well away from the next flock to minimize the chances of disease transmission. Only feed in bags stored separately from the house can be kept. Wash the house with water and soap. Start with the roof, the walls and then the floor.

Allow the house to dry before spraying with disinfectant solution, again starting from the roof. Wash and disinfect all equipment from the house. Repair and maintenance of equipment should also be carried out during this time. You can also apply effective broad-spectrum disinfectant through a pressure washer with a jet nozzle. Thoroughly soak all the interior surfaces and equipment, working from top to bottom.

Common Disinfectants

Common Disinfectants Advantages Disadvantages
Oxidizers E.G.Hydrogen Peroxide Broad-spectrum activity Corrosive, not effective in an organic matter
Alcohols (E.G. Ethanol) Broad-spectrum,cheap Evaporates, flammable
Halogens E.G. Iodine Broad-spectrum,cheap Corrosive
Phenolics E.G. Phenols Effective in footbaths Limited action
QAC E.G. TH4 Broad-spectrum activity Expensive
Ad-Spectrum Activity Toxic, aldehydes e.g. Formalin Expensive

In poultry farms, an all-in-all-out system is the best management practice: it prevents the buildup of disease-causing organisms and disease outbreaks. In cases where farmers want to keep flocks of different ages, then each flock must be housed on its own.

Only staff should enter the flock house. When visitors are allowed access, ensure the following is recorded:

Name, address and telephone number
Where she/he is from
Purpose of visit
The previous farm visited.

Poultry workers should always wear disinfected clothing and footwear. When visiting birds of different ages, start with the youngest and always visit sick flocks last, irrespective of their age. Take measures to control all rodents, wild birds and insects, as they are known vectors of poultry diseases. Such measures can be mechanical, biological or chemical. Do not permit the introduction of materials and/or equipment into the poultry house without thorough cleaning and disinfection.

If a water storage or header tank is present, where possible, open it and scrub it clean with a detergent. Drain the drinking system and header tank completely before adding a cleaning solution. It is best, if possible, to circulate the sanitising solution in your drinking system. If not, leave it to stand in the drinking system for a minimum of twelve hours before completely flushing the system with clean water.

After disinfection, bio-security controls at house entrances must be reinstated. Once the house is dry, place four inches of litter material and put back all the clean and disinfected equipment into the house. Common types of litter are wood shavings, straw, rice and coffee husks. Good litter should insulate the floor and absorb moisture from chicken droppings. Prepare the brooder area at least 24 hours before the chicks arrive (see brooder area arrangement below).

To monitor the effectiveness of the sanitation programme, a visual inspection and microbial culture are suggested. One can also use quantitative laboratory tests. Sterilization of the facilities is not realistic, but microbiological monitoring can confirm that undesired organisms such as salmonella have been eliminated. For more information, contact the Interchick team in any of our poultry centres countrywide.


Once the house is dry place four (4) inches of litter material. Common types of litter are wood shavings, straw, rice husks and coffee husks. Good litter material should insulate the floor and absorb moisture from chicken droppings. Correct litter management is fundamental to bird health, performance and final carcass quality which subsequently impacts the profit.

Pre-Placement Checklist

The key to successful broiler rearing starts with having a systematic and efficient management program in place. This programme must start well before the chicks arrive on-site. Pre-placement house preparation as part of a management programme provides a basis for an efficient and profitable flock of broilers. The following checks need to be made:

Curtain installation check
Litter material check
Floor temperature check
Minimum ventilation check
Drinker check
Feeder check

Chick Placement

Key management requirements:

  • Place chicks from a similar age and flock source in a single house
  • Placement per farm should ensure an ‘all-in/all-out’ regime.
  • Delays in placement can contribute to dehydration of chicks, resulting in higher chick mortality and reduced growth rate.
  • Transportation must provide ideal conditions for the chicks, and the delivery time should be as short as possible.
  • To reduce stress, lower the light intensity during placement.
  • Chicks must be carefully placed and evenly distributed near feed and water throughout the brooding area.
  • When using the supplemental feed on paper, place chicks on the paper
  • Weigh 5% of the boxes to determine day-old chick weight.
  • Lights should be brought to full intensity within the brooding area once all chicks have been placed.
  • Following a 1–2-hour acclimatisation period, check all systems and adjust if necessary.
  • Monitor the distribution of the chicks closely during the first few days. This can be used as an indicator of any problems in feeder, drinker, ventilation or heating systems.

Poultry Centres Near Me

Stop by any Interchick Poultry Centre for feeds, day old chicks, specialized technical and lab assistance or a quick consult with one of our vets.

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