Separation lines are essential to biosecurity plans for poultry farms | Master Edition

When developing biosecurity plans, many will confuse the perimeter buffer zone line with the separation line when deciding what to do.

They are two different things and should be treated a little differently. Knowing where they are on the farm makes it easier to determine what you need to do to protect the herd.

The perimeter buffer zone, or PBA, is the outer line of the farm. This is the point where many farms will sanitize vehicles entering the farm.

This is also the outside line where only necessary vehicles can enter the farm (feed trucks and egg trucks for a laying hen farm).

A sanitary station with watertight storage would be ideal here. A hand pump or hose-end foam units can help place foam on the wheels and undercarriage of vehicles coming onto the farm. These sanitizing solutions should be checked and mixed as needed.

This graphic illustrates the biosecurity strategy of a buffer perimeter and a separation line in a poultry operation.

The PBA would also be the point where a garden shed or special drop box can be placed so that deliveries can be made safely.

These boxes can be inexpensively made and bolted to a fence post or ground anchor to prevent tampering.

Make sure it’s sized correctly for the average size of boxes you normally see delivered, and let your delivery company know you want the boxes dropped there.

The Separation Line, or LOS, is the line where you are about to enter the room where the birds are.

Commonly seen in Danish entry systems, this is where you try to separate what is outside the farm from what is inside the bird housing.

In many cases, this is where you would put on coop clothing (overalls, hats) and change shoes for coop-specific footwear, then sanitize hands and feet before entering.

During high pathogenic avian influenza risk periods, it is recommended to use wet shoe baths or pump sprayers and pans to ensure that all areas of the shoes are coated with disinfectant. Hand sanitizers and sinks for hand washing are also good things to have in these rooms before entering the house.

For farms that operate organically, the LOS would extend outside of the poultry runs where the birds are. You will need to follow the same procedure to cross this line as if you were entering the house since you are coming into close contact with your birds.

When crossing the LOS exiting a chicken coop, you would do the same steps as entering. Disinfect and clean your shoes first, then put on your outerwear, then leave the house. You will then disinfect again before entering your vehicle and finally disinfect the vehicle when you pass the PBA line.

It may seem like a lot to do, but when you consider the value of the herd you are trying to protect, investing in a good biosecurity program is much less expensive than losing a herd and the associated loss of income. Planning ahead helps protect the herd.

Gregory Martin is a Penn State Extension Poultry Educator in Lancaster County.

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