Hank Will, GRIT Editor-in-Chief, speaks with Purina animal nutritionist Dr. Gordon Ballam about the importance of biosecurity when raising backyard chickens. Keeping your flock safe from parasites and diseases is important not only for your chickens’ health, but for yours and your family’s, too.
Minimizing potential exposure is the best way to keep parasite and disease problems from affecting your flock. Cleaning the coop and equipment regularly and sanitizing food and water dispensers with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water keeps microbes from settling in. Allow plenty of space and fresh air for your flock, and designate boots just for working in the coop to keep contaminants from being tracked in.
Wild birds can carry diseases; if you have feeders for them, place them far away from your coop to keep the birds separate. Similarly, new birds being added to your flock should be quarantined before they are allowed to live with the rest of the flock. Dr. Ballam suggests a 30-day quarantine in a separate coop, and caring for new birds after your established flock to prevent spreading disease.
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