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Keywords:

  • biosecurity;
  • poultry;
  • questionnaire

Objective  To determine the level of adoption within the Australian poultry industries of a range of standard biosecurity practices.

Design  A questionnaire survey of owners and managers of 1753 commercial poultry farms.

Procedure  Information was collected by telephone or in person from the owners and managers of poultry farms. Data were entered onto an Excel spreadsheet and analysed using the statistical tools within Excel.

Results  The response rates to the questionnaire for the chicken meat, egg, duck and turkey sectors were 94%, 37%, 92% and 96% respectively. Within the chicken meat sector, the adoption rate exceeded 98% for 11 practices with only the rates for appropriate disposal of spent litter/manure (94%) and development of farm level biosecurity plans (88%) falling below this level. Adoption rates for all practices had increased or remained at 100% since the last survey conducted in 2001. Integrated companies in the turkey and duck sector also reported high levels of adoption for most biosecurity practices although rates for the use of fresh litter, cleaning of sheds between batches of birds and maintenance of single age flocks were lower than in the chicken meat sector. Adoption rates for biosecurity practices on independently owned farms in the turkey and duck sectors were lower than for farms operated by integrated companies.

Conclusions  Farms in the chicken meat, turkey and duck sectors of the Australian poultry industries have a high level of adoption of biosecurity practices with only a small proportion of farms needing to further enhance their biosecurity.