Sanitation and Disinfectants

Sanitation: Cleaning and Disinfectants

Diseases and infections have always been a major concern to the poultry industry especially in the hatchery. Fortunately, microbial contamination can be  controlled using proper management practices and modern health products.

Microorganisms are everywhere but every microorganisms are not harmful to all species.There is diffrernce in pathogenicity, species affinity and resistivity of different microorganisms. Some are relatively harmless while others are highly pathogenic. Some pose a lethal threat to one species of animal while remaining harmless to another species.; Some organisms are easily destroyed while others are very difficult to eliminate. The moral is: Treat all microorganisms as if they are a severe threat to the chick’s livelihood.

It is essential for Understanding the terms used to describe microbial control while selecting the appropriate eliminating  action for  disease causing organisms. Three terms commonly used but often misunderstood are sterilization, disinfection, and sanitation.

Sterilization – The destruction of all  forms of all microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, virus, etc.)including spores.

Disinfection – The destruction of all vegetative forms of microorganisms except spores.

Sanitation – The reduction of number of pathogenic organisms to the level at which they do not pose a disease threat to the  host.

Proper cleaning of facilities removes the  majority of all the organisms and must be done before application of disinfectants. This is applicable to all areas within the hatchery including floors, walls, setters, hatchers, trays, chick processing equipment, air and personnel. The success of a hatchery sanitation program is limited only by its weakest link.

It is extremely important to remove as much organic matter as possible from surfaces to be disinfected. All debris including down, egg shells, droppings, tissue residues, etc. must be removed from the hatchery. This is followed by thorough cleaning with warm water and appropriate cleaning aides. Care should be given on selection of the proper detergent and thus producing the cleanest hatchery environment possible. Special attention should be given regarding variations in hardness, salinity and pH of the cleaning water. A thorough rinsing with  sufficient amount of clean sanitized water completes the cleaning process and removes most lingering residues of detergents, organic matter or microbial organisms  interfering the effectiveness of a disinfectant.

Only after the facilities have been thoroughly cleaned and the surfaces treated with an appropriate disinfectant solution. Not all disinfectants are suited for every situation so While selecting the appropriate disinfectant following consideration  should be kept in mind.

  • The type of surface being treated.
  • The cleanliness of the surface.
  • The range of organisms being treated.
  • The expected life of the  materials being treated
  • Time limitations on treatment duration.
  • Residual activity requirements.

If the surface is free of organic matter and residual activity is not required, quaternary ammonium compounds and possibly halogen compounds can be used effectively. However, if surfaces are not like the formerly mentioned ,  difficult to  clean and destroy with residual activity then multiple phenolics or coal tar distillates may be the choice.

Careful attention must assure that the disinfectant, if used as directed, meets requirements of the user. Try to be reasonable and donot expect the unattainable performance. Instead, select the variety of product or modify disease control practices.

In general, disinfectants can be divided into seven major categories.  The various classes of disinfectants are as follows:

  • Alcohols
  • Halogens
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Phenolics
  • Coal Tar Distillates
  • Aldehydes
  • Oxidizing Agents

Although many disinfectants are available, those most suited for hatcheries in present scenario include quaternary ammonium compounds, phenolics and aldehydes. However, each disinfectant is used in accordance for meeting the purposes for which it is designed.

Several considerations must be realized while using any disinfectant to Its maximum effect. Some of these general considerations are:

Few disinfectants are effective instantaneously. Each requires a certain  time duration to bind with the microbe and exert a destructive activity. Allow adequate contact time (usually 30 minutes is sufficient) or select a different disinfectant.

While selecting disinfectants consideration of species specific effectiveness on organisms  are of greatest concern. If a hatchery is experiencing problems with a certain viral disease, the disinfectant selected must be effective for destroying the specific organism causing the problem. Not all disinfectants are effective for all types of organisms.

In most situations it is advisable to clean and disinfect in two different operations that are separated with thorough water rinsing. Many disinfecting producers promote their product based on ease and economy of use because they clean and disinfect in one operation. If these products are used, make sure that they satisfy all efficacy requirements demanded of other disinfectants.

The efficacy of disinfectant  is  enhanced when applied in warm solutions rather that cold solutions. “Hot” solutions, however, may reduce disinfectant efficacy or promote a “cooked-on” condition for unremoved protein-rich residues.

If  possible, allow all surfaces to dry thoroughly prior to reuse. Dryness helps to prevent the reproduction, spread and transport of disease organisms. Although a surface is clean, it may be easily recontaminated with organisms if water remains on the surface.

It is important when selecting the best disinfectant to consider its effect upon the developing embryo and the hatchery environment. Embryos are in a very sensitive stage of development when the eggs enter the hatchery. They can be severely affected if subjected to chemical vapors, even if a sterile environment is provided.

It must be remembered that an egg is not produced in a sterile environment. Before being laid, the egg is subjected to a series of microbial attacks that can reduce the hatchability of healthy robust chick. The vent of the hen is probably the most contaminated area that an egg passes through. Poorly maintained nests can transfer the infection to the healthy eggs. But fortunately nature has provided several protective barriers for the embryo. Hatchery personnel must not conduct any procedure that interferes with the egg’s natural defense. Producer must make every effort for timely collection and storage of  eggs so that natural protections are not compromised.

Keeping egg shell surfaces dry it is very important to prevent excessive microbial contamination by shell penetration. Without moisture potentially pathogenic microorganism  have little opportunity to invade the egg shell and infect the embryo so that sweating of eggs as they are moved from warm to cool environments must be prevented for effective and succession of sanitation programs.

Embryos have the same requirements prior to pipping that the chicks have following hatching. They  need  heat, moisture, and a high-quality source of air. They can be severely affected by harmful fumes  from many chemicals often found around the hatchery. Although there is little effect in the hatchability the quality of the chicks can be reduced. Whenever any unusual odors from detrimental chemicals are detected in the hatchery, the product must be removed immediately. This applies to all chemicals within the hatchery, including disinfectants. For example  improper use of phenolic disinfectants produces the vapours that can cause unnecessary changes in egg proteins and impair hatchability and chick quality.

As a result of Improper selection and use of some disinfectants efficient functioning  of hatchery equipment may be impaired.Some disinfectants are corrosive and damaging to equipment parts. Some disinfectants can clog and gum-up spray nozzles if added to the water used in humidifiers. Electronic control devices can also be severely damaged or destroyed after prolonged exposure to some disinfectants.

Select disinfectants wisely and always follow labeled guideline for their safe use. Good managemental practices not only  maximize hatchability and chick quality, but also provide a safe working environment for the hatchery personnel. Safety of the people working in the hatchery must never be sacrificed for cost or productive efficiency.

Assuming that a proper state of sanitation is achieved, it must be remembered that the status of disease-free surfaces can be compromised if facilities are not maintained or working properly as usual. Hatchery personnel must be made aware of  that they can be the major source of reinfection by transporting microorganisms on clothes, hands and attire. Since people are direct carriers of microbes, provisions of footbath, spray and washing basin must be made available at appropriate locations in the hatchery . Compulsory use of laboratory coats and caps can significantly reduce the spread of micro organisms. Restricting movement of hatchery personnel by assigning duties within specific areas can limit  the distribution of organisms throughout the hatchery.

Infection by potential pathogen is a constant challenge to hatchery personnel. Always use control measures that have been proved effective rather than relying on visual cleanliness as an indicator of sanitation.Doing so may be fatal to the chicks and the management program because a  clean surface does not always indicate a disease-free state.

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