Avian Influenza Precautions
We have been asked questions about what we do at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. to protect our birds from Avian Influenza (AI). We would like to take this opportunity to review with you our biosecurity policies and procedures. At MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc., we pride ourselves on strict biosecurity practices at all times.
Some of our standard operating procedures include:
- All visitors involved in tours are required to comply with our strict biosecurity standards, which include a mandatory 48 hour “break” from contact poultry or livestock, wearing disposable boots and freshly laundered clothing prior to tour participation.
- Our breeder farm, hatchery and grow out farms are separated by as much as a mile which reduces the risk of disease transmission between flocks and facilities.
- All eggs collected go through an egg wash and sanitizer to minimize disease spread and transmission prior to being taken to the hatchery.
- Exposure to wild birds is controlled in a humane fashion as our birds are in netted pens, thereby minimizing exposure.
- All houses are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between every flock.
- All houses remain empty for a period of time between flocks.
- All flocks are started on fresh, new, dry bedding.
- Our reduced stress environment and fortified diet help to bolster the birds’ immune system.
- AI testing is implemented through the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). Our participation is in this program is a part of our strict biosecurity program. Per NPIP guidelines, blood samples must be drawn every 180 days. However, we exceed these guidelines by testing every 90 days to maintain a higher degree of diligence.
- Detailed information on Avian Influenza can be accessed at any of these websites:
The Official USDA website on avian influenza
American Meat Institute
Keep in mind, many of the countries where AI is prevalent, do not have these types of controls in place to maintain biosecurity at every level, as well as a lower ability to test flocks in remote locations leading to increased spread of the disease there.
We feel the precautions taken with our flocks helps to minimize the possibility of an AI outbreak. We hope this provides you with the answers you need to feel comfortable with our pheasants and our rearing practices.