Biosecurity: Principles of CHIP - part 2

Biosecurity related to 4-H projects has become a focal point for many fairs and expositions. Learn the CHIP method to easily make biosecurity a part of your routine!

Pathogens, viruses or bacteria can spread quickly through animal species and cause sickness. Pathogens are spread in various ways such as through the air, through waste materials such as urine or feces, and through direct contact. The management practices that animal owners follow can help reduce the spread of pathogens in the environment. It is recommended that 4-H animal exhibitors remember to do their part to help safeguard the animal production industry by paying particular attention to their management, both on their own farms and during exhibition. This article by Michigan State University Extension will focus on the C of the biosecurity principles of CHIP which stands for cleanliness.

Cleanliness begins with animal owners! Animals and their equipment must be kept clean. Keeping the animal clean and well cared for provides owners the ability to visually inspect the animal daily. Any cuts, scrapes, lesions or symptoms of illness can be detected by observing and inspecting the animal on a regular basis. Some characteristics to look for in daily observation are feed and water consumption which can often times be discovered when an animal becomes sick and will not eat or drink the same amount as a healthy animal.  Additionally, physical symptoms such as droopy ears, discharge from the eyes or nasal cavity, elevated temperature, or lethargy occurs in an animal that is sick. If you notice any of these symptoms you should immediately contact your veterinarian to perform an exam on your animal.

Additionally, equipment such as feed pans and troughs, water buckets and tanks, brushes, chutes, and trailers should be properly sanitized with a 6 percent bleach solution and rinsed in between animals. This may seem daunting, but implementing simple strategies such as having a readily available spray bottle or dipping tub with the bleach solution near a hydrant can help make this task part of a routine.

Human cleanliness is also very important. Humans can carry pathogens such as Ringworm, E. coli and salmonella that easily passes between animals and humans and humans to animals. It is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling animals. Also, remember that clothes can carry pathogens as well so keeping clothes and shoes clean will help reduce the spread of pathogens not only in between animals and humans, but also from farm-to-farm.  

 4-H leaders can help teach youth about the principles of CHIP by accessing and using the Animal Science Anywhere: Basics of Biosecurity resource from MSU Extension.

The next article in this series will focus on the H principle of CHIP, history.

Other articles in this series by MSU Extension include:

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