By Kinsey Bitterman

Keeping your livestock healthy should be at the top of your priority list in your barn. Prevention
is key. The best way to prevent harmful bacteria from invading your facilities is with biosecurity.
Biosecurity is taking action to prevent and control harmful bacteria that could cause severe
illness in your livestock. Consider these four tips when practicing biosecurity in your barn.

  1. Wash your hands before you go to the barn.
  2. Wear boot covers or designate specific barn shoes.
  3. Ensure fresh, clean feed and water.
  4. Vaccinate livestock if necessary.

To begin with, washing your hands before you go to the barn may sound silly and pointless if
you are just going to go to the barn to mix feed, touch your animals, etc. But there is a point.
Washing your hands will help prevent dragging any unwanted bacteria lingering on your skin
that may harm your animals’ health.

Continuing on, having designated barn shoes or wearing boot covers is a great way to encourage
biosecurity. This reduces the risk of tracking bacteria from outdoors and/or in other barns if you
have been in any. On that note, if you go to other people’s barns, wear shoes that are NOT your
designated barn shoes, and/or make sure you wear boot covers to keep their animals healthy and
your own.

Furthermore, always ensure that your livestock’s water and feed are fresh and clean. This is a
major factor in maintaining your animal’s overall health, to begin with, but a great step in
encouraging biosecurity as well. Clean feed and water are important because an animal’s proper
hydration and nutrition are key factors in staying alive. If the feed and water are not clean and
fresh it reduces the animal’s likeliness to eat and drink it which puts the animal at more risk of
catching diseases or illnesses.

Finally, giving animals vaccinations is another excellent way to practice biosecurity. When
bringing babies home, the breeders usually give them their starter pack of vaccines that get the
animals to create antibodies against common diseases in that type of young livestock. Another
thing to remember is current disease outbreaks for specific livestock species. If there is a current
outbreak and it is suggested in the industry take measures against the disease, then do so. If you
are hesitant, it is always a good idea to contact breeders and/or your veterinarian.

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