Biosecurity for Free Range Poultry

All owners and keepers responsible for animals - including farmed poultry - have a duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act (2006). This is to ensure their animals are provided with a suitable environment and diet, so as to be free to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable) and to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease, and should:


  • Keep water fresh and free from droppings
  • Keep feed under cover to minimise wild bird attraction
  • Keep waterfowl and chickens separate
  • Control vermin
  • Isolate new stock for 2-3 weeks
  • Isolate birds after taking to an exhibition for 7 days
  • Change clothes and wash boots before and after visiting other breeders
  • Change clothes and wash boots before and after attending a sale
  • Keep fresh disinfectant at the entrance to poultry areas for dipping footwear
  • Disinfect crates before and after use, especially if lent to others. However, it is preferable not to be sharing equipment
  • Disinfect vehicles which have been on poultry premises but avoid taking vehicles onto other premises
  • Wash hands before and after handling poultry
  • Comply with any import/export regulations/guidelines.


The above are practical measures which can easily be incorporated into a daily routine as advised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain.  Further information on keeping poultry healthy and preventing endemic infections can be found on the DEFRA website.


Biosecurity is an essential practice for free range poultry keepers to protect their flocks from potential disease outbreaks. Free range poultry is particularly vulnerable to diseases as they are often exposed to a variety of wildlife, insects, and other potential carriers of disease. It is important to establish good biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious diseases within the flock.


One of the key biosecurity practices for free range poultry is to limit access to the flock's living area to only essential personnel. This means that visitors, pets, and other animals should not be allowed near the birds. In addition, keepers should ensure that their clothing, footwear, and any equipment they use are properly cleaned and disinfected before entering the living area.


Another important practice is to keep the living area clean and free from any debris or waste that could harbour pathogens. This means regularly cleaning the coop and ensuring that the birds have access to clean water and feed.


Free range poultry keepers should also monitor their flock for signs of illness and immediately isolate any sick birds. If a disease outbreak does occur, keepers should work with their veterinarian to identify the disease and take appropriate action to treat the sick birds and prevent the spread of the disease to the rest of the flock.


Overall, biosecurity is an essential component of raising healthy and disease-free poultry. By implementing good biosecurity practices, keepers can minimise the risk of disease outbreaks and protect their flock's health and welfare.