HEALTHY BIRDS | September 15, 2022

Biosecurity: What is it and why it’s important

You may not be familiar with the term biosecurity when it comes to the egg industry, but it is a term that is constantly used throughout the industry and is crucial in maintaining a safe supply of local, high-quality eggs for Albertans and the Alberta economy.

Just like in any given industry, there are steps taken to ensure the health and safety of the products produced and the birds that supply it. On-farm biosecurity refers to the set of steps, actions, or practices that are implemented from the edge of a farm’s property to their barn door.

For Alberta’s egg industry, we have a set of best management practices as well as a biosecurity assessment tool that helps producers understand and implement protocols and measures to keep their birds healthy and protected from outside dangers (disease, bacteria, virus’, etc). These dangers are not only from wild birds, but can also be transmitted by pests, equipment, vehicles, manure, people, landscape, and animals.

While not expensive, biosecurity is the most cost-effective option for a flock of laying hens to stay protected. These protocols are by no means complex, yet rather simple, but do require commitment and responsibility on behalf of the egg manager. Egg Farmers of Alberta (EFA) provides a resource to all producers which is our Basic, Better, Best Practices. All these practices are effective in preventing disease and the ones that a farm chooses to implement are dependent on their situation and financial scope.

Some practices/steps that a farm could take are:

  • Installing a physical transition area prior to barn entry and exit –called a Danish entry

  • Managing manure systems
  • Placing biosecurity signage around the farm
  • Having a fenced gate before the farm
  • Change of footwear when entering/exiting barn
  • Have visitors wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including boot covers, coveralls, and face mask

  • Pest control
  • Designate a visitor parking area

  • Keeping records of who visited your farm on a daily basis

As a typical egg farm in Alberta houses an average of almost 16,000 layers, it’s not worth the risk of loss to not keep a barn the safest it can be. That’s why you can trust our industry is taking all the necessary steps to keep laying hens disease-free, and the eggs they produce clean and safe.

EFA also ensures compliance through regular farm visits by our two staff Field Services Coordinators, Dave and Murray. On top of checking for compliance, they test flocks for SE (Salmonella Enteritidis), and monitor quota. If a farm has not complied with a policy, they will be subject to correcting the identified issue and informing once the corrective action has been completed/implemented.

Biosecurity will always be important in the egg industry and EFA is proud of the dedication and work Alberta producers are doing to keep their flocks healthy and happy.

To learn more about biosecurity as it relates to the Alberta agriculture industry, visit: