10 tips for cleaning, disinfecting broiler houses

When planning the cleaning and disinfection of broiler houses, a detailed plan and step-by-step procedures can create a healthy, hygienic rearing environment.

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Cleaning and disinfection are central to any biosecurity program. A good broiler house cleaning and disinfection program will help minimize the adverse effects of disease, optimize bird performance and welfare, and provide assurances on food safety issues. 

In the a 2016 publication in its series on Best Practice in the Broiler House, Aviagen recommends:  

1. Establish a plan

Any good poultry house cleaning and disinfection program will start with a plan, detailing dates and times, along with the labor and equipment needed, and this should be established prior to depleting the farm.

2. Control insects

Wearing appropriate protective equipment, spray the poultry house interior with a locally recommended insecticide as soon as the flock is removed and while the house is still warm. A second treatment with insecticide should be completed before fumigation.

3. Remove dust

Remove all dust and cobwebs from interior surfaces and equipment.

4. Pre-spray

Again, wearing appropriate protective equipment, spray detergent solution throughout the broiler house interior to dampen any remaining dust. Close the curtains in open-sided poultry houses first.

5. Remove equipment

Remove all equipment from the house and raise automatic feeders and drinkers.

6. Remove and dispose of litter

Litter must be removed to a distance of at least 3.2 km (2 miles) and disposed of in accordance with government regulations.

7. Wash

Use a pressure washer with a foam detergent. Ensure the detergent is compatible with the disinfectant to be used. Rinse with hot water.

Spraying Detergent 1606 P Ibroilerhousecleaning1

Broiler houses should be washed using a pressure washer and foam detergent, compatible with the disinfectant to be used, and then rinsed with hot water. | Photo courtesy Aviagen 

8. Clean water and feeding systems

Drain, clean and disinfect the water system.

Water pipes should be cleaned at least once per flock to remove any biofilm that may have built up. If physical cleaning is not possible, use high levels (140 ppm) of chlorine.

Flush water lines with clean, fresh water prior to flock placement.

Empty, wash and disinfect all feeding equipment.

Empty bulk bins and connecting pipes and brush out. Clean out and seal all openings.

Wherever possible, fumigate.

9. Disinfect

Use an approved disinfectant that is effective against specific poultry bacteria and viruses. Follow manufacturer’s instructions at all times.

Most disinfectants are not effective against sporulated coccidial oocysts, and selective coccidial treatments should be used by trained staff only.

It is always worth remembering that disinfectants are ineffective in the presence of dirt and organic matter and should not be applied to wet surfaces, as this will result in dilution.

10. Fumigate

Where permitted, formalin fumigation should be completed by trained personnel, following safety legislation and guidelines.

Fumigate as soon as possible after disinfection; surfaces should be damp and the house warmed to a minimum of 21C (70F) and a relative humidity of greater than 65 percent. Seal the house for 24 hours.

Prior to permitting any re-entry, ventilate the house to reduce formalin levels to 2 ppm.

Repeat fumigation after the litter has been spread.

Preparing For Fumigation 1606 P Ibroilerhousecleaning2

Fumigation should be carried out as soon as possible after disinfection. Surfaces should be damp, and the house warmed to a minimum of 21C (70F) and a relative humidity of greater than 65 percent. | Photo courtesy Aviagen 

Don’t forget external areas

External areas around the poultry house should also be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.

Particular attention should be paid to the areas under the ventilator and extractor fans, under feed bins, access routes, door surrounds and gutters.

Ideally, the poultry house should be surrounded by an area of concrete or gravel (1-3 meters/3-10 feet in width). If this is not possible, the area around the house must be free from vegetation and machinery and equipment and have a level, well-drained surface.



For more from the Aviagen Best Practice in the Broiler House, visit:


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