Biosecurity practices on Australian commercial layer and meat chicken farms: Performance and perceptions of farmers

Angela Bullanday Scott, Mini Singh, Peter Groves, Marta Hernandez-Jover, Belinda Barnes, Kathryn Glass, Barbara Moloney, Amanda Black, Jenny-Ann Toribio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper describes the level of adoption of biosecurity practices performed on Australian commercial chicken meat and layer farms and farmer-perceived importance of these practices. On-farm interviews were conducted on 25 free range layer farms, nine cage layer farms, nine barn layer farms, six free range meat chicken farms and 15 barn meat chicken farms in the Sydney basin bioregion and South East Queensland. There was a high level of treatment of drinking water across all farm types; town water was the most common source. In general, meat chicken farms had a higher level of adoption of biosecurity practices than layer farms. Cage layer farms had the shortest median distance between sheds (7.75m) and between sheds and waterbodies (30m). Equipment sharing between sheds was performed on 43% of free range meat chicken farms compared to 92% of free range layer farms. There was little disinfection of this shared equipment across all farm types. Footbaths and visitor recording books were used by the majority of farms for all farm types except cage layer farms (25%). Wild birds in sheds were most commonly reported in free range meat chicken farms (73%). Dogs and cats were kept across all farm types, from 56% of barn layer farms to 89% of cage layer farms, and they had access to the sheds in the majority (67%) of cage layer farms and on the range in some free range layer farms (44%). Most biosecurity practices were rated on average as 'very important' by farmers. A logistic regression analysis revealed that for most biosecurity practices, performing a practice was significantly associated with higher perceived farmer importance of that biosecurity practice. These findings help identify farm types and certain biosecurity practices with low adoption levels. This information can aid decision-making on efforts used to improve adoption levels.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0195582
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2018

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