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Tips on buying quality poultry disinfectants

Dear Dr Messo

I am a new farmer from Buloba, I expect to receive my broiler chicks in the next three weeks. My poultry house is ready for final disinfection. I recently went to the local agrovet store to buy disinfectant and was spoilt for choice. Please advise on how to select the best?  Dear new farmer

The single most important factor in keeping poultry healthy is maintaining good hygiene right from the start before chicks’ arrival and throughout the growing period. Here are qualities of a good disinfectant:

1.     Must be safe on humans and animals

Take your time to read the manufacturer’s safety warning on the label of the disinfectant. Some disinfectants like formalin and glutaraldehyde can be toxic to humans and animals and must not be inhaled or accidentally mixed in the drinking water for young birds.

Chlorine and iodine-based products are less harmful to users and the environment.

2.     Must be effective in killing pathogens

A good disinfectant must be able to kill most of the stubborn germs. A good disinfectant will reduce one million germs/square area to about 10/sq area. Most QAC+ Glutaraldehyde disinfectants can achieve this efficacy rate. Check this literature on the catalogue.

3.     Contact time and residual activity

An ideal disinfectant should be able to kill organisms in less than five minutes of contact time. This, however, can only be achieved following a thorough washing with water and detergent to remove all the organic materials and expose the germs to the effective activity of the disinfectant.

Even after spraying disinfectant, it should retain its killing activity for a longer duration (residual activity).

Alcohol-based products have low residual activity and must be repeatedly used.

4.     Wide spectrum of activity

The product must destroy protozoan oocysts and cysts, bacterial spores, fungal spores, and some enveloped viruses that are naturally difficult to eliminate.

Some good examples are oxidisers, halogens, and aldehydes. Phenols have a narrow spectrum of activity.

5.     Active in presence of organic matter

Because poultry units are full of dust and organic matter, a good disinfectant that can cross that barrier is ideal.

Most phenolic compounds like cresol, tar derivatives are good in presence of organic matter.

Chlorine, peroxides should be avoided.

6.     Must be cost-effective 

Instead of focusing on the cost of a disinfectant per litre, figure out the cost per diluted solution. A disinfectant costing Sh1,400/litre at dilution of 0.5 per cent is cheaper than one costing Sh800 at dilution of 1 per cent all other factors remaining constant.

Most common disinfectants are registered at a dilution of 0.5 per cent (1:200) for general disinfection of poultry premises.

7.      Must be registered

Is the product tested by well-known laboratories? Is it registered for use in disinfection and sanitisation by known authorities? and in different countries? It is good practice to stick with brands with proven track records.

[The writer is Head Vet at Kenchic, [email protected] or [email protected]]

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