African Swine Fever is a reality that hog raisers are continuously challenged with. As it poses serious hazards to the health of a pig farm, it also seriously impacts total meat production and distribution. To address this, hog raisers are using biosecurity as a preventive tool.
What is Biosecurity?
Biosecurity is a set of measures designed to prevent the introduction and spread of a harmful disease like the African Swine Fever. With the threat of this dreaded hog disease, it’s essential to know some basic biosecurity measures that you can do to protect your pig farm.
1. Have a biosecure farm layout.
This requires building a perimeter fence that will shield the whole farm from the outside environment. Walls making up that perimeter fence will protect the pigs from uncontrolled traffic of people and vehicles which could be potential carriers of the disease. To contain the activities inside the farm, have a breeding zone, a professional zone, and a public zone.
- Breeding zone is for buildings and areas leading to the buildings.
- Professional zone is only for authorized personnel and own-farm vehicles, following strict biosecurity measures.
- Public zone is where free movement of people and vehicles is allowed.
2. Be aware of possible risks
Key sources of possible contamination are people, pig feeds, and vehicles/pig haulers. Hence, it’s important to ensure that all these are safe and sanitized when they enter the farm premises.
- Make sure that only authorized farm vehicles are allowed inside the farm and that these are thoroughly disinfected.
- Feeds, delivered straight to the storage, should be transferred to appropriate feed containers.
- Official farm visitors like vets and maintenance people should pass through a sanitation and shower area. Again, to avoid possible sources of contamination, personal items are not allowed.
3. Ensure health of new pigs.
New or replacement pigs should be quarantined for 4-6 weeks to ensure that they are free from any disease. Physically separating them from the rest of the pigs gives you ample time to assess the overall health of these farm newbies. It’s also important that these pigs are sourced from safe and legit sources as these are usually the ones monitored by licensed vets and breeders. Note that these pigs should also be vaccinated.
4. Don’t feed pigs with pig meat products.
To keep your pigs safe, do not feed them with meat products as these can be possibly contaminated. The same applies to human waste food and food scraps that are potential breeding grounds for bacteria and diseases. Be strict about designating specific eating areas for people to avoid accidental feeding of meat scraps to any of the pigs.
There are numerous ways to keep your pigs protected from African Swine Fever. But the best way to keep your hog farm secured lies in what Biosecurity is all about: planned prevention of onset of disease and intelligent control of disease transmission.
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