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Extension > Agriculture > Poultry > Avian influenza > Biosecurity for pigeon lofts

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Biosecurity for pigeon lofts

Carol Cardona

In English | In Hmong | In Somali

In its simplest terms, biosecurity is what you do to stop the spread of disease within and to your loft. On a broader scale, it is a formal system of stopping the movement of a bacteria or viruses from one animal to another, from one loft to another, or in some cases, from one person to another. Biosecurity measures are not necessarily expensive. In fact, except for the cost of some disinfectant products and, perhaps, for those who want them, disposable smocks, hats and shoe covers, biosecurity costs can be controlled, and they should be minimal. In most cases, lofts can be very cheaply and quickly adapted to implement adequate biosecurity measures, even if construction of barricades or fences is necessary.

Most handlers already apply some form of effective biosecurity measures:

These are common biosecurity measures that most of us do every day - we do it to prevent the spread of disease. We have just never thought of it in such terms - in the sense of "biosecurity" terms! Sometimes, simply changing the order in which you approach a task provides adequate biosecurity, such as the way you handle your feed bags (if they're stored in the loft).

Based on our understanding of the sources and transmission of various disease agents, the following recommendations have been designed to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria between racing pigeon lofts and the introduction of new infections to susceptible birds. Our recommendations have been divided into best and alternate practices so that these recommendations can be adapted to every loft. We have outlined these recommendations based on the three key principles of biosecurity, isolation, traffic control, and sanitation.

Isolation refers to the confinement of your birds within a controlled environment. A fence keeps your birds in, but it also keeps other animals out.

Traffic control includes both the traffic onto your premises/property and the traffic patterns of both you and visitors on and within your premises/property. Sometimes, simply changing the order in which you approach a task provides adequate biosecurity.

Sanitation addresses the disinfection of materials, people and equipment entering your property and your loft and the cleanliness of the personnel on your property and your loft.

Biosecurity and racing

It may seem that the sport of racing pigeons destroys all attempts to achieve biosecurity in a loft. Several of the things we have said you should avoid, all happen in a race. However, biosecurity can also be applied to racing to reduce the chances that disease agents are introduced at races.

Biosecurity for birds returning from races

There are two possible ways to approach racing, both are legitimate and each has its own pros and cons. Which method is selected, is up to the individual loft owner after a careful consideration of the risks and benefits associated with each approach. The two possible approaches to biosecurity follow:

Biosecurity at shipping and the club

No matter what biosecurity strategy you choose for your own loft, there are certain common sense things that must be a part of biosecurity on a club basis.

Biosecurity on transporters

Transporters must be fully cleaned and disinfected between uses.


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