October 8, 2019

US poultry production, biosecurity seminar focuses on best bird management practices


At the 2019 Live Production, Welfare & Biosecurity Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, the United States, attendees heard presentations on a variety of topics to maintain best management practices for the welfare of birds and strong biosecurity measures on their farms.


The seminar is a collaboration of the US Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers.


Dr. Randall Singer, founder and project lead at Mindwalk Consulting Group, LLC, gave a presentation on "Antibiotics: An Overview of the Technical Results and the No Antibiotics Ever Survey." The results show dramatic reductions of turkey and broiler chicken antimicrobial use over a five-year timeframe. "It's a success story for the industry," he explained.


Participants received practical tips for preparing for biosecurity audits from JC Essler of the Texas Poultry Federation. He explained that, in addition to human exposures, one needs to plan for exposure to and contamination by wild birds, rodents, insects and other animals.


Dr. Darrin Karcher, poultry extension specialist at Purdue University, discussed "The Challenges of Transitioning to Cage-Free Laying Systems" during the layer breakout session. Dr. Karcher noted: "A lot of the decisions made today are not science-driven. They are emotionally-driven." Producers, therefore, must balance business needs with perception when building their programmes.


Attendees also heard two presentations on the basics of duck production.


Haley Grimes, field operations manager at American Humane, gave an overview of audit perspectives for the duck industry. Different than in broiler or turkey audits, the auditor evaluation of water in a duck production facility includes ensuring there is unrestricted access to preening (bathing) water. The ducklings must be able to completely immerse their heads to preen.


Other programme topics included updates on legal matters, salmonella, antibiotics and a Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) overview.


Breakout sessions divided into three groups – broiler, turkey/duck and layer, addressed the topics of "Lighting Best Practices, Ventilation for Litter Management, Ducks 101 and The Effects and Control of External Parasites on Cage Free Systems."