Biosecurity: Principles of CHIP - part 3

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 are spread in various ways such as through the air, through waste materials such as urine or feces, and through direct contact. Pathogens, along with viruses or bacteria can spread quickly through animal species and cause a variety of sickness. According to Michigan State University Extension, the management practices that animal owners follow can help reduce the spread of pathogens in the environment. 4-H animal exhibitors can 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 will focus on the H of the biosecurity principles in CHIP, history.

Many 4-H members do not raise their own animals from birth to harvest; they purchase animals from a breeder in order to begin their 4-H project. It is important to know the history of the animal you are planning to purchase, gain knowledge about the management practices and herd health of the farm you are purchasing from, and know what vaccinations the animals on the farm have been given. This is an important, but often overlooked, principle. It is very important to know all of this information because it will help you become aware of any potential health issues that your animal may develop after you get it to your farm. Remember that stress weakens the immune system of animals, therefore, a change in environment can potentially be stressful for your new animal and it may show signs of sickness. If you know the history, you will be prepared to work with your veterinarian to identify and treat any illness.

Additionally, you should be aware of the history of people who visit your farm. If they have traveled to an area that may be infected with a pathogen, they could be carrying that pathogen and potentially spread it to you or your animals. Visitors to your farm who have been on another farm should be asked to take the proper precautions such as changing clothing and shoes, or wearing boot covers over their shoes, and to thoroughly wash their hands before touching any of your animals.

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 I principle of CHIP, isolation.

Other articles in this series by MSU Extension include:

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