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Red Tractor tightens biosecurity standards

broiler chickens

RED TRACTOR has updated its standards for broilers, turkeys and ducks, tightening biosecurity standards in light of the ongoing risk of avian influenza.

The assurance scheme said it had adapted requirements based on risk factors that could potentially bring avian influenza into poultry sheds – the new standards apply from 1 October 2022.

See also: 5 lessons learned from the 2021/2022 AI outbreak

A focus has been placed on shavings and litter bale biosecurity – known to be a significant risk factor in introducing disease.

Shavings and litter bales must now be double wrapped, and the wrapping disinfected before bales are moved into housing.

A technical note explains: “In practice, this means that the clear plastic wrap on bales is considered single wrapping and storing them with black plastic (or equivalent) over the top is the second plastic wrapping.

Disinfection

“When moving bales into the shed, either before or during a production cycle, bales must be disinfected before being bought indoors.

“This can be achieved either by bringing the right number of bales to the outer door of poultry housing and spraying bales individually before moving them into the house, OR by thoroughly spraying the outer black plastic before cutting into it to access the bales inside.

“In this scenario, if not all bales are used, they must be re-wrapped and the whole procedure
followed again if bales need to be bought into the poultry housing again.”

A recommendation has also been made asking for all bales to be stored in buildings that do not allow ingress of wild birds or rodents. Bales stored outdoors have been identified as at risk of contamination.

See also: How to take an integrated pest management approach to control rodents on poultry farms

In addition to bales, any equipment moved between sheds must be managed, foot dips must have covers, and new rules surrounding visitor books have been introduced.

The new standards also emphasise the importance of a farm biosecurity policy that is up to date and includes comprehensive site maps.

Aside from the biosecurity changes, farms now need to ensure their environmental permits are available during Red Tractor audits and amended rules surrounding lighting monitoring and dark periods.

Full details are available on the RT website.