Saturday, November 25, 2017

Using a measured approach to food safety

Calibrate before you celebrate

Food safety experts stress that foods should remain out of the danger zone during prep and consumption.  To assist in taking the guesswork out of this, it is recommended to follow the
guidelines specified by FDA and others when preparing and serving food.  Keep hot foods hot, above 140 degrees F and cold foods cold, below 40 degrees F.  To figure out where you are, most turn to a quick read thermometer.  These are great tools to use if used properly.  First, check your thermometer against a know standard.  For most that is a cup of crushed ice and water (a slurry) that should read 32 degrees F.  Look at the stem of the thermometer for a slight dimple or mark.  This is the insertion line that must be fully inserted into what you are measuring.  If the thermometer is not reading correctly, then see if the thermometer can be adjusted.  Many have a nut on the back of the dial that allows for the scale to be moved to correct the thermometer to the ice slurry check.  You should also consider thermometers for the freezer, refrigerator, and oven to check temps and to be sure temperatures are where they should be.

The other consideration is to use the two-hour open rule.  This refers to foods being served that may pose a food risk.  Meats, egg dishes, salads with dressings and other prepared foods should not sit out all day during a festive occasion.  Return foods to covered storage before two hours are up after serving.  It is good to either keep the foods hot or cold, or better yet, store them properly till the next meal.  Snack foods that are normally salted and dry can remain at room temp.  Always follow label recommendations, and be food safe.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Something Simple yet Something Profound

Be sure to do this often during hot weather

Something simple, yet has a profound effect on the care of birds in summer heat. Using a simple toilet brush to brush down fans of cobwebs, dust, feathers and other materials from
fans and fan related equipment is a must. By many accounts fan efficiency goes down with the loading of dust. By cleaning the fans, the fan blades have a better bite to the air and therefore can move more air. Thus, a house could move more air and make the difference in heat stressed birds and reduce heat related problems.

Remember good fan safety. Have a “lock-out” program or have individual fan kill switches at the fans themselves to prevent accidental start-up while you are cleaning the fans. Have a sign on the entrance to the house that you are performing a lock-out so folks will know workers are working with fans.

While compressed air can clean a majority of dust, dirt and feathers, I find it helpful to brush away any remaining materials from louvers, and fan blades with a simple toilet brush. While you are at it check belts and tensioners (if installed) and remember to brush off motors as well. For a few bucks the payback is well worth the expense.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Managing Biosecurity in a changing landscape.

Take Time To Plan

While we would like to think that birds are fairly free of diseases, they can be challenged from time to time by what is in their environment.  With ABF/RWA programs and a reduction in available therapies there are fewer treatments available for common illness that may strike a flock.  Because of this, it is important to maintain a healthy environment by practicing great biosecurity.  By compartmentalizing and restricting movement of people and equipment among the birds, you reduce disease pressures on the flocks in your care.  Organic and other flocks that use outside access have to push the line of separation on their farms to the outer limits of where the birds may roam.  This means PPE and other sanitation methods may be needed to enter these pens for normal service.

Deliveries and other non-poultry visitors should be held to a minimum.  The use of Drop Boxes and other locked enclosures will help reduce traffic on the farm.  Review your documented biosecurity plan on a regular basis and make sure all who visit your location understand and follow your plan.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Getting Ahead of Flu Season

 Take all precautions to protect yourself and your birds.
Image result for person getting flu shot CDC
With fall and winter season upon us, several steps should be taken to fortify your location against disease.  With fall migrations, wild birds will over fly or even rest on or near your location.  Prevent co mingling of wild birds with poultry by exclusion methods and housing.

Hygine should also be strengthened during this period so that germs will not be carried into a poultry area.  Use washable or disposable clothing and footwear when working with birds and disinfect early and often.  The amount of money spent on C&D (cleaning and disinfection) is better spent that what would be endured from an outbreak.

Lastly, protect yourself during flu season.  Get the seasonal flu shot, and wash your hands often, especially after congregating in public areas such as bathrooms and meeting rooms.  Advancements in vaccine technologies have made the seasonal flu vaccine an important protection for all those at risk of the flu.  Always consult your physician should you have questions regarding any vaccinations.

CDC Vaccination Guidance on Seasonal Flu

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Check Watering and Feeding Equipment as Your Birds Age

How you make a presentation counts

The birds we commonly use for meat and eggs do not have valves in their throats as we do.  Because of this, chickens, ducks and turkeys (to name a few) have to swallow food and water upright or throw the food to the back of the throat in a jerking motion like a woodpecker at a log.  To aid in feed conversion and water spillage, positon trough waterers and feeders lip height at the base of the bird’s neck or slightly higher so that the bird doesn’t waste feed and water standing up.

Nipple drinkers are a special case.  They should be set at the eye of the bird so that the birds jaw is below the level of the pin of the nipple drinker.  This will aid in controlling water spillage from this type of watering system.  Bell type watering systems should be adequately weighted to keep from swinging too much.

Feeders should no more that 1/3 full, and placed with the lip of the feeder even with the base of the neck of the bird.  If using a trough raise the feeder on blocks or similar structure to bring the food up to make it easier for the birds to eat.  Pasture should be long enough for the birds to easily pull on young blades of forage.