As the festive season sets in, livestock farms attract all kinds of people, especially those that are coming in to buy animals. Given the fact that there are many livestock diseases around at this time, farmers must observe proper biosecurity measures. Biosecurity management practices prevent the spread of disease by minimising the movement of biologic organisms and their vectors (viruses, bacteria, rodents and flies) onto and within your operation through animals, vehicles, visitors, personnel, pests, and other means.
Observing strict biosecurity practices minimises the introduction of disease onto farms, limits the spread of disease already on farms, and reduces the risk of disease being carried between farms. Biosecurity controls transmission of disease-causing agents between animals, from animals to feed and from animals to equipment that may directly or indirectly come into contact with affected animals.
-A vehicle wheel bath is a simple biosecurity measure that helps prevent the potential spread of disease. Organisms have the potential to survive for several days or weeks in the dirt stuck to wheels of vehicles or the bottom of shoes. Vehicle wheel baths or footbaths can eliminate these organisms.
-Depending on the amount of traffic on your farm, it may be necessary to have more than one wheel bath. It is important to provide cleaning materials such as brushes at every footbath; and ensure that they are not shared between separate wheel baths. There are several recommended disinfectants for use in wheel baths.
-Make sure to maintain a “clean” footbath. Footbaths should be cleaned periodically. How often you clean your footbath depends on how much foot traffic you have on your farm. On average, footbaths require weekly cleaning. The empty container and mat should be scrubbed with a brush and rinsed thoroughly. Next, add fresh disinfectant and place the mat back into the container. Do not empty the footbath in an area where the footbath is used so that a dry area around the footbath can be maintained. Don’t forget to post guidelines near footbaths instructing users how to correctly wash footwear.
-It should be noted that separating animals based on age groups prevents unnecessary bullying by the dominant animals of subordinate ones. This brings about improvement in feeding and milk production; than when housed in mixed groups. Research has showed a 10-15% improvement in eating and milk yield when first-calf heifers were grouped separately from older cows; and a nearly 20% increase in resting activity when heifers were housed separately.
-Where stalls are too small, the animals are not comfortable, increased animal injuries, reduced lying time which results in decreased milk production and if the stalls are too large, it results into dirty stalls, poor hygiene for animals, increased stall maintenance and small cows would prefer to lay backward in stall.