Our biosecurity advice
for your breeding hens

The term Biosecurity denotes, for rearing breeding hens, all the hygiene provisions and practices designed not only to protect the animals against contamination by pathogenic agents, but also avoid the latter’s spreading from a farm if it is contaminated.


Owing to the pyramid-like structure of the poultry sector, Biosecurity measures must be stepped up on breeder farms.

This applies to:

  • The outer perimeter of the buildings;
  • The sanitary airlock (design and function) ;
  • The materials making up the buildings, particularly the walls and floor, etc. ;
  • Combating the vectors of contamination.

Entrance to a breeder farm – Gate and sanitary airlock

Surroundings and buildings, the initial sanitary barriers

General organisation of a breeding hen farm General organisation of a breeding hen farm

1. Organisation of the buildings

It is imperative to ensure that the surroundings of the breeding building(s) are protected and that their access is forbidden to any persons or animals. It is therefore essential to install a mesh fence to enclose these boundaries. The passage through this fence must be secured by a gate for personnel as well as for vehicles.

t is also important to have a different exit for the effluents (manure, droppings and waste water) in order to avoid crossing circuits.

The following elements should be located at the entrance to the protected enclosure:

  • The vehicle disinfection equipment (wheel dips and spraying equipment for disinfection);
  • The delivery trucks for feed delivery;
  • The egg collection trucks on layer farms;
  • The sanitary airlock for personnel and visitors.
Container truck washing and disinfection

Airlock in breeding hen farm Airlock in breeding hen farm

On layer farms, the buildings are equipped with a sorting room, an egg disinfection airlock and finally an air conditioned room for their storage.

The personnel responsible for egg collection must have access separate from that of the farm personnel and must not enter the rooms housing the poultry.

An enty register is provided for any outside visitors, which they must complete.

2. Building construction materials

Decontamination of the buildings is the subject of a protocole written and recorded protocol.

The materials of which the buildings are constructed must facilitate this decontamination.

The floor must be concreted and the walls made of smooth materials (plastics, sandwich boards), resistant to the pressures of the washing equipment (at least 150 bars). 

The washing waters are collected in an outside pit, which is emptied before the building is disinfected.

Walls and ceiling made of smooth, rot-proof material

Management of contamination vectors

1. Pests

The buildings must be equipped with devices to prevent entry of wild birds. At the very least, a grid should be installed on the air inlets.

Rodent and insect control must be the subject of intervention procedures with written records.

2. Feed

Foodborne contamination of the breeding hens remains a factor not to be ruled out.

During rearing for breeding purposes, heat treatment of the feed is essential (for 1 minute at 85°C), as it reduces bacterial flora. It also reduces the risk of contamination by salmonellae.
Samples of each delivery are kept for a minimum of 4 months, in order to ensure traceability in case of confirmed problem issues in commercial breeding.

3. Drinking water

The drinking water must be treated against bacteriological contaminants and must be tested at least every 6 months.


4. Air

Filtration of incoming air is required in breeding undertakings in order to trap the aerosols that carry pathogens.

Filtration of incoming air

The essential Cleaning & Disinfection programme

After the breeding hens have left, the cleaning, disinfection and depopulation operations are compulsory. Manure must be removed from the building before these operations are carried out. The tractors and other manure handling equipment must also be decontaminated afterwards.

The storage and spreading of the animal faeces and cleaning water must not constitute a source of contamination for the environment. 

Thecleaning water must be discharged either into a pit or a waste water network.

Cleaning and disinfection of the breeding premises and their annexes, as well as the equipment, are carried out according to a written protocol, using authorised products (detergents and disinfectants in accordance with legislation). This protocol must also take account of control of pests, particularly rodents, insects and unwanted mites. Finally, the surroundings must be decontaminated according to the procedures mentioned in the corresponding chapter.

Only a clean surface can be disinfected.

Good disinfection is impossible without proper washing beforehand, which already achieves 70 to 80% of the decontamination.

Washing and disinfection of the ventilation systems is also essential to avoid rapid and early recontamination of a batch of birds.

Safety first

For operator safety, protective measures are indispensable during operations involving Cleaning & Disinfection.

  • When using the high-pressure pump, an impervious suit, an anti-noise headset and waterproof boots should be worn.
  • When applying the products, more specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as chemical protection gloves, goggles, a suit impervious to chemicals (Type 4) and cartridge mask (ABEPK) are required. In case of doubt about the PPE to be worn, refer to section 8 of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) of the chemical product used.

Advice to reduce the tediousness of Cleaning and Disinfection

  • When designing the building, prefer more easily washable materials: plastic and stainless steel rather than concrete, smooth rather than rough surfaces;
  • Keep surfaces in good condition, not worn or cracked, easily accessible and well lit;
  • Start the Cleaning & Disinfection protocol as soon as the birds leave, before the surfaces dry;
  • Apply a detergent before scouring to facilitate dissolution of soiling;
  • Use a stationary washing pump with hose connection by clipping rather than screw fitting;
  • Use a high flow rate pump (28-30 l/min.) and work at low pressure;
  • During scouring, ventilate the room as thoroughly as possible;
  • Apply the products in foam form at the right dose to save time and water;
  • Use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).