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The basics of biosecurity

Whether you can vaccinate or not, you should protect your investment by applying appropriate biosecurity measures. This is not just to keep out infectious diseases, but to keep out some of the other serious diseases.


You should take precautions against contamination from vehicles. The lorry picking up pigs for slaughter is a particular danger. Always insist that it has been well washed before visiting your herd. You should also take precautions against contamination from such lorries by building a safe pig-loading bay and by not allowing the driver into your pig buildings.
Pig meat products
You should not feed pig meat products unless they have been thoroughly cooked and it is safer not to feed meat products at all. Do not allow anyone to take sandwiches or food into the pig buildings. Provide a designated eating place for them away from the pigs.
Incoming pigs
Any replacement pigs coming on to the premises should come from known safe sources.
Reduce visitors to a minimum and make any that have to enter your pig building change into clothes and boots that are kept on the farm. One way of ensuring that they change their clothes before entry is to insist on them taking a shower.
If they wash their hair while showering it adds to the farm biosecurity. Compulsory showering helps to deter visitors and raises biosecurity attitudes. You might also insist that visitors stay away from other pigs for a period of time before visiting. A minimum period would be one night. Some pig farmers with large herds insist on two nights down-time. If you do not insist on down-time, check whether your visitors have come from contaminated places like pig farms, slaughter houses, animal renderers, or post-mortem rooms. If they have, do not let them in. Make them sign a visitors’ book stating that they have not been in such places.
You and the other pig attendants should follow the same rules and keep away from contact with other pigs and contaminated places too.
Control of rodents and flies
Rats can carry a variety of diseases from one pig farm to another. Mice do not travel much between pig farms but they do perpetuate infections such as salmonella and swine dysentery. Flies can carry infections such as streptococci that cause pig meningitis and can travel up to about 3 km between pig herds.
Water, feed and bedding sources
Check on the source and cleanliness of the water you provide to your pigs. Water can bring a number of infections such as leptospira and salmonella. If in doubt, chlorinate it. Also check the water storage tanks and pipes.
Scrutinise feed sources and constituents.
Bedding, if used, should come from a pig-free source and not become contaminated by birds, rats or mice during transport. (The PigSite)

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