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bullet Benefits of Sanitization & Disinfectants
bullet Why clean or sanitize our poultry houses?
bullet Suggested Cleaning & Disinfecting Program





The Role of Sanitization & Disinfectants in the Control of Poultry Disease


Sanitization of cleaning is the establishment of environmental conditions favourable to good health.  Procedures used to sanitize a facility would utilize water and detergents or sanitizers to physically remove organic debris and micro organisms.  Sanitizing does not kill all organisms but reduces them to safer levels.

Disinfectants are chemical compounds or agents that destroy or kill microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, but not all spore forms of bacteria.  Disinfectants possessing a residual activity will help delay repopulating of organisms as long as it remains as a residue.

Benefits of Sanitization & Disinfectants

1.     Eliminate certain diseases.

Some microorganisms are very pathogenic and must be eradicated from the premise by thorough cleaning and disinfecting.  Examples of such diseases may be avian influenza, velogenic Newcastle disease, infectious laryngotracheitis, and fowl cholera.

2. Reduce certain diseases

Some microorganisms are very resistant to several disinfectants and even though it is desirable to eradicate them, quite often it is only possible to reduce their numbers to safer levels by conducting a thorough sanitation program between flocks.  Some examples of these diseases would be the Infectious Bursal disease and the Avian Reovirus group.

3.    Reduce stress on birds

A reduction in the exposure of disease-causing organisms to birds reduces the amount of stress placed on the bird resulting in improved performance, improved profitability and reduced medication costs.

Why clean or sanitize our poultry houses?

Studies have shown that under normal conditions, a billion bacteria (excluding viruses) may exist on one square centimetre of floor space.  Washing with a sanitizer/detergent and scrubbing, removes most (95%) of the contamination.  Reasons for cleaning houses are as follows:

  • Removal of organic debris exposing microorganisms to air and light.  Organic matter provides suitable shelter for disease microbes to survive.  Organic debris also reduces efficacy of the follow-up disinfectant.

  • Removal of microorganisms.  Microbes, as well as organic debris become mixed in the foam and suds of the detergent and water mixture are washed away from inside the house.

  • Cleaning with a water-sanitizer mixture will kill a proportion of microorganisms, lessening the microbial load for the disinfectant to kill.

  • Thorough cleaning and rinsing enhances the microbicidal activity of the disinfectant.  A material is clean when it has been returned to its original colour and structure, assuming its surface has not been destroyed.

Suggested Cleaning and Disinfecting Program

Cleaning is a very responsible job and should be conducted in a fairly orderly sequence of events.

  1. Remove all birds from poultry house.

  2. Remove manure and litter and haul it far away from house.

  3. Empty feeders, hoppers, and bins.

  4. Remove all equipment possible and begin soaking them.

  5. Blow down (vacuum) dust from beams, ceiling, walls, inlets, fans, hoods, stairways, etc.

  6. Use high-pressure spray as a pre-wash to remove any residual dust.  Soaking (pre-wash) saves time, energy, and water and improves cleaning.

  7. Shovel and sweep up dust and organic debris.

  8. Use high-pressure spray (400 psi) with detergent/sanitizer to clean.  Scrape and scrub where necessary.  Use approximately 20 Imperial gallons water per 1000 square feet at a maximum rate of 3 gallons per minute.

  9. Rinse entire house ensuring removal of all detergent.

  10. Clean inside of water lines by flushing with a disinfectant.  Flush well with pure water.

  11. Uniformly apply a disinfectant to entire interior of house.  A pressure sprayer or fogger may be used.  High pressure is not necessary for disinfecting.  One gallon of stock solution will disinfect 2000 square feet with an 8-foot ceiling.

  12. Clean and disinfect all removed equipment.

  13. Make necessary repairs to equipment.

  14. Return equipment and assemble.

  15. Apply cresylic acid and diesel fuel to outside areas surrounding the poultry house and to earth floors.

  16. Implement an insect and rodent control program, if necessary.

  17. Close up house, shut-off fans and fumigate with formaldehyde gas.  This step may be optional.  Adding formalin liquid to potassium permanganate (2:1 ratio), or using paraformaldehyde prill (91%) or using an aqueous formalin disinfectant will generate the formaldehyde gas.  Fumigation must be conducted carefully as the gas is toxic, irritating and flammable.

  18. Keep the poultry-house clean by enforcing stringent biosecurity and isolation management.


  • Remember that disinfecting is not a substitute for cleaning.

  • Vaccination is not a substitute for cleaning and disinfecting.