NDSU Extension - Morton County


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Biosecurity for Backyard Chickens

Biosecurity is essential for raising backyard poultry, since a good biosecurity plan helps keep disease out of a flock. Now that chickens are allowed within Mandan city limits, here are some tips to help your chickens remain happy and healthy.

Keep your distance by restricting access to your property and your birds. Consider fencing off the area where you keep your birds, and make a barrier if possible. If visitors to your property want to see your birds, be sure they wash up first and clean their shoes, or even provide clean boots or shoe covers for them. If visitors have birds of their own, do not let them enter your bird area. Wild birds and other animals should not have contact with your flock, because they can spread germs and diseases.

Keep it clean. Wear clean clothes, scrub your shoes with disinfectant, and wash your hands thoroughly before entering your bird areas. Thoroughly clean and scrub objects before applying disinfectants, as disinfectants cannot work on top of dirt or manure. Cages should be kept clean, and food and water should be changed daily. Keeping a clean environment will also reduce odor and the risk of pests and diseases.

Disease prevention and management is essential when raising chickens. New birds should be kept separate from your flock for at least 30 days. Do not share birds, lawn and garden equipment, tools, or poultry supplies with your neighbors or other bird owners. If you do bring equipment home, clean and disinfect them before they reach your property.

Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases. Early detection is important to prevent the spread of disease, and report any sick birds as soon as possible. If you suspect your chickens are sick or dying, call your local veterinarian or cooperative extension office.

For communities that allow backyard poultry, establishing good rules and best practices is the best way to protect citizen rights and property and ensure that your birds are happy and healthy. Great information and publications on small and backyard flocks can be found at https://articles.extension.org/poultry and https://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/Resources/type/backyard/. USDA-APHIS’s “Defend the Flock” program has many resources related to biosecurity at https://tinyurl.com/y2dr9k37. For specific questions on care or management, contact your local NDSU Extension county office.


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