• Posted by Anitox

Disease Control in Turkey Farms: A Glance at Biosecurity

Recent Avian influenza (AI) outbreaks have highlighted a critical truth related to disease control in turkey farms - robust biosecurity measures are the linchpin to safeguarding both turkey flocks and the financial prosperity of producers. Since 2022 approximately 12.9 million meat turkeys and over 700,000 turkey breeders have been depopulated due to AI in the United States alone.

However, disease control in turkey farms is bigger than just AI. Biosecurity programs act as a shield against a plethora of other menacing pathogens like Salmonella, Clostridia, and E. coli. Producers diligently enforce a variety of protocols to minimize pathogen prevalence within operations. From stringent visitor guidelines to meticulous barn hygiene practices, biosecurity measures encompass a wide array of strategies aimed at safeguarding the health of turkeys.

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Feed plays a pivotal role in shaping the composition of gut bacteria. By reducing the presence of harmful pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli in feed, producers not only enhance bird health and performance but also contribute to overall food safety. Producers can nurture thriving flocks and sustainable turkey production practices through meticulous management of feed quality and hygiene.

Biosecurity Measures for Turkey Producers

Pathogen entry into turkey production is a complex issue. Most operations implement proactive measures to prevent pathogens from entering the production cycle. These biosecurity measures typically involve strict visitor regulations, barn hygiene, pest control, water sanitation, and feed interventions. Biosecurity is commonly categorized into structural and operational aspects. Structural biosecurity focuses on the design and maintenance of facilities to prevent pathogen entry, while operational biosecurity addresses transmission risks within the operation, incorporating strategies like shower procedures and visitor policies.

Effective on-farm biosecurity serves as a barrier between the farm and external sources of pathogens. To determine practical biosecurity measures, producers conduct risk assessments to evaluate pathogen risks, fomite behavior, and transmission likelihood. Identifying key fomites, understanding transmission enablers, and implementing targeted measures play a crucial role in interrupting pathogen spread.

disease control on turkey farmsWhen considering measures to enhance on-farm biosecurity, producers should focus on impactful strategies that are within their control. Implementing measures like shower protocols, sanitation practices, vaccination, traffic flow regulations, and feed/water treatments can significantly reduce pathogen entry onto farms. Prioritizing actions that are economic with a high impact are essential in maintaining comprehensive biosecurity programs. By addressing key vulnerabilities and implementing targeted solutions, producers can effectively safeguard livestock from pathogens and promote overall farm health and productivity.

Does Feed Sanitation Impact Turkey Health Management?

A bird's gastrointestinal tract can harbor between six to eight hundred different species of yeast and molds, bacteria, viruses, and parasites known as the gut microflora or microbiome. The bird's flora development begins after hatching and is primarily influenced by the initial environment, including the feed provided to the birds. Within the gut, beneficial bacteria play a crucial role in maintaining health through competitive exclusion, the idea that established bacteria can prevent harmful bacteria from taking over. Each section of the gut houses a specific population of microorganisms that work in harmony with the host to aid in digestion, stimulate the immune response of the gut, and even create a protective barrier against pathogens.

The health of the gut flora significantly impacts the overall health and performance of birds. Feed quality, biosecurity measures, water quality, management strategies and environmental conditions all play a role in the physiological and microbial development of the gut in turkeys. Among these factors, feed plays a central role as it is a source of nutrients to both the host and the microflora. Feed has been shown to introduce pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, Clostridia and mycotoxins, further leading to inflammation, damage to the intestinal tract, and potential mortality. The use of a feed sanitizer in turkey production reduces the likelihood of introducing harmful bacteria into the production cycle, overall supporting gut health and bird performance.

disease control on turkey farmsManaging gut health is essential for optimal growth and performance in turkeys. By controlling feed pathogens, producers can not only enhance intestinal health and bird productivity but also contribute to food safety by reducing the risk of pathogens harmful to human health. Proper management of feed quality and hygiene is paramount in ensuring the well-being of turkeys and the profitability of turkey production operations.

To learn more about how Anitox supports turkey performance through feed sanitation, check out our Guide to Pathogen Control in Turkeys, or if you are ready to discuss implementing feed sanitizers as part of your feed pathogen control program, speak to an expert today.

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