Bio-Security for Birds and Humans

Here at Pandemonium, maintaining bio-security is an extremely important aspect of our daily work.  The ultimate goal of bio-security is to prevent infectious diseases and contamination from spreading.  The aim is to keep unwanted microbes from entering our aviaries, spreading from infected areas to uninfected areas, spreading from Pandemonium to the outside wildlife, and spreading from animal to human or vice versa. We manage our bio-security by following a number of practices that reduces the chance of cross-contamination.  As would be expected, thorough cleaning procedures are a large part of these practices.  For those working with birds here, fingernails must be short and clean due to harmful bacteria that live under the nails.  Watches and jewelry must be removed and hands must be washed before and after touching a bird.

Various disinfectants are used for footbaths and for cleaning aviaries, toys, and incubators.  Before disinfecting any items, they must first be cleaned so that no organic matter remains.  All shoes are scrubbed with disinfectant before entering Pandemonium and before entering any individual aviaries.  Any equipment that comes in contact with birds or droppings must be cleaned and disinfected before and after use.  Each aviary has its own equipment and food dishes to prevent the spread of microbes between aviaries.  Food and water are changed daily and cages are thoroughly cleaned every week.

Everyone who enters an aviary must use a footbaths upon entry to any aviary to prevent microbes from being tracked inside.  The baths are simply shallow plastic bins with the bottom covered in artificial grass and filled with a disinfectant solution.  Here at Pandemonium, we use DuPoint Virkon S.

It is also important to quarantine newly arrived animals, or those that are suspected or confirmed to have an infectious disease. Quarantining birds allows us to examine birds closely and give them health check-ups, detect and eliminate diseases without allowing them to spread, and to help new birds acclimate to the new environment.  The space used for quarantining birds must comply with state and federal regulations.  As per these regulations, there must be a quarantine area for new birds and sick birds, the area must be cleaned and disinfected before and after use, hand sanitation must be available at every area, and barriers must be maintained between quarantine zones. Waste products from the quarantine zones may need to be disinfected before disposal and may also need to be transported off site for disposal. Containment, transport, and disposal of waste products and water must also comply with local, state, and federal requirements.

All these measures are vital to the health of our birds, and we take great care to follow every practice.  The stringent cleaning measures do get tedious, but with these amazing birds at stake, every scrub is worth it.

By Joanne Tang