June30 , 2022

Poultry House Hygiene: Products and Procedures



Poultry House Hygiene: Products and Procedures

The starting point of “field biosecurity” is the reception of a healthy flock from the hatchery. This also implies healthy breeders and a good biosecurity program both at the hatchery and during the transport of the chicks to the house. But, as todays genetics became so performant, they became less and less resistant and therefore require optimum biosecurity conditions.


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There are different vectors for possible disease transmission, apart from unhealthy chicks. We can subdivide them as follows :

Biological: people , rodents( able to transmit Pasteurelosis , Salmonelosis , …) ; insects (that can carry Avian Viruela , Marek, IBD, Salm. , E.Coli, Campilobacter, …) , wild birds (often carrying Avian Influenza, Pasteurella, Salmonellae, ….)

Mechanical: vehicles (vectors for IBD and Salmonellae)

Nutritional: feed (possibly containing Salmonellae, paramixovirus, IBD, …) and water (often containing enterobacteria like Salmonellae and E. coli)

Static: litter, fluff, surfaces (floors, walls, roofs ,able to transmit IBD and Salmonella spp.)

On the macro-biological side, rodent control and excluding wild bird entrance are the main challenges. Meso-biologically, good working insecticides will be useful. In this article, we will focus on the micro-biological challenges.

Hygiene consists of two parts : CLEANING and DISINFECTION.

Disinfection without cleaning is a waste of money. Cleaning is the management of dirt that can be seen partially: to separate and remove this dirt from a surface, throug water and a detergent. In other words, to make the surface as free as possible from organic soil, that would impede the disinfectant to reach the surface.

Read also: Health management of poultry

Four factors will determine the functioning of a detergent :

Chemical energy : pH and concentration. (Alkaline detergents remove proteins and fat; acid detergents remove mineral deposits like scale)

Thermal energy (Fat starts to dissolve as from 95°F)

Physical energy (eg. a high pressure washer)

CONTACT TIME : this will enable the chemical energy to do it’s job. Moreover, it’s the only factor that does not cost any energy, its Free Of Charge !

Therefore, often FOAM is used in stead of a “classical detergent”, since it adheres longer. But today, a new generation of cleaners has been developed in the form of GEL (BIOGELTM). Increasing the contactime will allow to save on waterconsumption, labor and energy.

A good cleaning job should allow for an 80 % reduction of micro-organisms, generally known as a “sanitised” situation. This will allow the disinfectant to reduce the rest of the pathogens easier.


The goal of disinfection is to reduce the number of pathogens , ideally with log 4 (99.99 %). Therefore, the disinfectant should comply with a number of characteristics. First of all, it should be compatible with the detergent, foam or gel cleaner. This means that if your cleaning agent contains cationic surfactants, your disinfectant should not contain anionics. (Phenols and especially their derivates like cresolics are known not to be compatible with non-ionic surfactants and cationics like quaternary ammonia).

Well formulated disinfectants should comply with a number of characteristics, such as :


how many different active ingredients compose the product , so that it assures a maximum SINERGY? (eg. VIROCID® contains 1 aldehyde (glutaraldehyde), 2 different quaternary ammonia (1 single chain and one twin chain) and alcohol (isopropanol) ; KICK START® contains stabilised hydrogene peroxide and organic acids ).

Does the products contain buffering agents (surfactants, wetting agents, sequestering agents, …) so it does work in contact with organic matter, in hard water and assures minimum a two years shelf life?

The one million $ question : how many oz/gal active ingredients does the product have? (VIROCID® : 70 oz/gal or 522 gr/ L ) ; or in other words : how much water is there in the drum ? This CONCENTRATION will determine the dilution.


  • for the people ( eg. not containing carcinogenic substances like formaldehyde)
  • for the animals
  • for the equipment (not being corrosive on galvanised feeder lines and fans, or aluminium drinker supports, …)
  • for the environment (being biodegradable and therefore not containing heavy metals such as tin, silver, …)

Read also: Heat stress management in poultry

EFFICACY Does the product have the FULL SPECTRUM : bactericide, fungicide, virucide and sporicide ? (Be ware of -statics, like bacteristatics : they stop their development, but don’t reduce their number !)

VERSATILITY Can the product be sprayed, foamed and fogged as it is ?

COST/BENEFIT What is the price, not per gallon, but DILUTED ?


Not only the cleaning and disinfection of surfaces are important, but also your waterlines should be cleaned and disinfected !

Cleaning means removing the scale and the biofilm. The biofilm is a polysaccharide layer , caused by adding vitamins, medication etc. through the water. It harbours mainly enterobacteria (Salmonella, E. coli, …) and impedes the good functioning of medicine, vaccines, etc. It will , as scale, block the nipples and reduce the water flow. Chlorine (that gets neutralised by organic matter) will not remove the scale an not even penetrate the biofilm. Removing the biofilm is only possible by OXIDATION. Stabilised hydrogen peroxide will do the job ! In combination with organic acids, it will also remove scale. And, if the products do not contain heavy metals (like silver nitrate), it can also be given during production , avoiding a new build up and sanitising the drinking water. All this without leaving residues in the meat nor eggs. CID 2000® is such a product.


The Dutch ICC (Integrated Chain Control) system describes the procedures for poultry houses as follows :

  • remove litter, empty drinkers and clean dry all visible dirt
  • wash down with a cleaning agent and allow for enough contact time (20 min) and clean drinker lines (and flush them afterwards)
  • rinse and let dry
  • disinfect (by spray or foam; foaming will visualise better where the product has been applied and stays longer on vertical surfaces and ceilings)
  • install new litter, re-install and fill the feeders and drinkers
  • do a terminal disinfection by fogging
  • do a continuous disinfection of trucks (wheel dips) , people (hand hygiene, foot dips) and drinking water.


Biosecurity is about an integrated program , that should be implemented and checked. Ideally, one supplier should provide you with all necessary products and advice. For integrated companies, the supplier should have both a field sanitation and a hatchery sanitation program.

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