Reply To: What is the importance of thorough cleaning and disinfection in empty period ?

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Hanne Nijs

Although red mite cannot be entirely eliminated from a contaminated farm, the infestation can be reduced by a thorough cleaning and disinfection between consecutive flocks. Red mites hide in cracks and crevices of the housing system during the day. With hens present, it is of course rather difficult to treat all areas of the system. Therefore it is imperative to clean the house thoroughly during the empty period when it is easier to target structures that are difficult to reach otherwise. Both dry cleaning (e.g. removing dust and debris) and wet cleaning with hot water and soap is important. Using soap is an effective way to reduce mite numbers and thus should always be carried out. Extending the duration empty period is not an effective measure since red mites are able to survive in the hen house for 9 months without feeding.
Steps to undertake to reduce mite infestation in the empty period (preferably in this order) include:
– Remove manure
– Remove all clustered manure residues (scraping)
– Dry clean house (e.g., broom and remove all detritus and dirt)
– Clean with compressor (also in pvc tubes and cable ties)
– Clean air mixing box
– Dry clean hen house second time
– Clean ventilation duct (preferably with steam cleaner)
– Clean aeration tubes (possibly by sewer cleaning company)
– Clean manure belts
– Clean central manure belts
– Clean egg belts with high water pressure
– Remove all dirt from the house
– Clean whole house with steam cleaner
– Let everything dry
– Clean manure container/pit
– Disinfect after drying
(based on Mul et al., 2020)