Our biosecurity advice
for your Broiler

The term Biosecurity denotes, for broiler breeding, 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.

The main contamination factors
in Broiler breeding

Main contamination factors in table poultry breeding

Surroundings and buildings, the initial sanitary barriers

General organisation of a Broiler farm

The layout of the building and its immediate vicinity must be taken into account in preventing risks of contamination.

A Biosecurity plan that can be consulted by everyone is compulsory in poultry farming. It comprises the following 3 activity zones: public, professional and breeding.

Each breeding area has its own sanitary airlock. This is divided into 2 washable and disinfectable areas. It must be equipped with a hot water washbasin, liquid soap, paper towels and waste bins.

The essentials for achieving biosecurity of your building:

  • Setting up protected boundaries around the building, which can be visualised by signalling barriers and regularly disinfected;
  • Using a sanitary airlock ;
  • Increasing the ease of decontamination of the traffic areas;
  • Restricting access to wild birds (netting) and rodents (bait boxes);
  • Protecting the bedding and equipment (storage shed within the protected boundaries).
Spreading quicklime on the ground

Water: a “food” that should not be neglected

The drinking water intended for the Broiler is not subject to any legislation setting quality standards, unlike water for human consumption, which is required to fulfil potability criteria. The regulations solely stipulate that it should be of “adequate” quality, and to meet this requirement, a certain number of criteria are defined.

1. Bacteriological quality of the water

Although no established standard exists, it is recommended to test for the absence of microorganisms (total Coli, E. coli, streptococci, etc.) in 100 ml of water.

Contamination may already occur at the water catchment point, but also in the farm piping, particularly owing to the residual biofilm. In order to ascertain the bacteriological quality of the water, an analysis should be carried out (ideally at the airlock and at the end of the line). In the event of inadequate bacteriological quality, it is recommended that corrective measures be taken: checking the watertightness of the catchment point and implementing water disinfection (chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide or chlorine).

2. Physical and chemical quality of the water

It is essential to be aware of the physical and chemical quality of the drinking water, as under certain circumstances, it may cause:

  • Unsuccessful disinfection of the water (e.g.: reduced efficacy of chlorination in alkaline or iron-rich water);
  • Failures of treatments administered via drinking water (e.g.: some antibiotics precipitate in hard and alkaline water) ;
  • Problems related to inadequate watering of the animals (associated with the development of biofilm or with clogging of the piping).

It is recommended to perform a physical and chemical analysis of the water at least once every 2 years.

3. Cleaning and disinfection of the piping

Water circuit with purge in Broiler breeding

Purging under pressure is paramount during the cleaning operations to achieve a sufficient mechanical flushing effect in order to wash out the impurities removed from the piping walls by the cleaning products.

The standard procedure for cleaning the inside of the pipes to remove as much biofilm as possible is as follows:

  • Filling the pipes with an alkaline solution, followed by a contact time of between 30 minutes and 1 hour;
  • Purging under pressure -> degreasing;
  • Filling of the pipes with a second acid solution, followed by the same contact time -> descaling;
  • Purging under pressure;
  • Disinfection by filling the pipes with a disinfectant solution;
  • Purging with clean water if necessary.


The circulator with continuous return to the tank device ensures that good water quality is maintained and that cleaning is carried out during the batch.

The essential cleaning and disinfection programme

1. Cleaning

The washing and scouring of certain parts of the building are the most tedious but above all the most important operations for properly carrying out a disinfection procedure.

Organic matter (straw, droppings) inhibits the action of the disinfectants. The success of disinfection is thus influenced by the thoroughness applied to the cleaning process.

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.

2. Spray disinfection:
1st disinfection

This is the first disinfection operation after washing the building. It is usually carried out by spraying the previously cleaned surfaces. On no account should it be performed by thermal fogging or nebulisation on health and regulatory grounds.

There are risk factors in a badly performed spray disinfection:

  • Underdosing of the disinfectant;
  • Insufficient contact time;
  • Application to a contaminated surface.


The equipment used for decontamination:

The use of a foam gun makes it easier to apply the disinfectant, provided that a foaming product is used. When applied in foam form, the disinfectant is more effective (combination of quaternary ammoniums and aldehydes, hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid). Furthermore, the foam allows the product to achieve better adhesion to the surface, thereby increasing the contact time and therefore the efficacy of the decontamination. 

Application of disinfectant in foam form
Application of disinfectant in foam form


3. Aerial disinfection:
2nd or final disinfection

As an be seen in the table below, bacterial surface contamination increases during the depopulation period and during the phase of preparing the building to the next batch:

Number of microorganisms per surface unit

Contamination level of a poultry farm according to the cleaning and disinfection stages

Aerial disinfection, generally applied by thermal fogging, is recommended to reduce final contamination, before entry of the day-old birds, to that of the beginning of depopulation.

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 a 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 & 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).