Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Farm Biosecurity Manual for the Duck Meat Industry

Download the manual.



1. Duck production biosecurity

2. Routine bisoecurity procedures

3. High risk biosecurity procedures

4. Records & Appendixes






In a broad sense, biosecurity is a set of measures designed to protect a population from transmissible infectious agents at a national, regional and individual farm level. At the farm level, it involves the systematic approach by duck owners, on an industry-wide basis, to protect their flocks from the entry and spread of diseases.

Contine reading

This means biosecurity is about better managing risks, to prevent the introduction of diseases to an enterprise, and to prevent the spread of diseases between farms or disease-free areas. Farmers practising biosecurity measures will be much better prepared if faced with an emergency disease outbreak. The use of these measures will help limit the impact of endemic diseases, making sense from economic, social and animal welfare perspectives.

The ability of the duck industry to withstand an outbreak of a disease, and the total cost of its control, will be directly influenced by each individual farmer’s biosecurity plan, and its effective operation.

The Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) is a cost sharing deed between governments and livestock industries, and includes an obligation by each industry party to develop a program that minimises the risk of disease introduction and spread.

The Australian Duck Meat Association (ADMA) has developed this biosecurity manual, as part of its ongoing commitment to the EADRA, for its members to implement. The ADMA has utilised the Manual for Poultry Production[1] as the base level of the standards set out in the ADMA Farm Biosecurity Manual.  As such, when modifications to the National Biosecurity Manual for Poultry Production are made, the ADMA Farm Biosecurity Manual will be reviewed as well.

This manual also complies with the legislation of Food Standards Australia & New Zealand (FSANZ), which is the governing body for production and processing of all foods within Australia.  It is emphasised that this includes farmers e.g. farm to fork and each company must meet these standards as a condition of trading.

The Australian duck industry is generally healthy and requires minimal veterinary attention.





  • To prevent the introduction of infectious disease agents to duck production facilities.
  • To prevent the spread of disease agents from an infected area to an uninfected area.
  • To minimise the incidence and spread of microorganisms of public health significance.

Biosecurity is an integral part of any successful duck production system.  It refers to the measures taken to prevent, or control, the introduction and spread of infectious agents to a flock.  Such infectious agents, whether they cause clinical or subclinical disease, significantly reduce the productivity, profitability and long-term financial viability of a duck production facility. 

Contine reading

Biosecurity is about managing risks to meet the objectives stated above.  It is essential that each enterprise conducts a risk assessment to establish the existing level of risk in each phase of its operations, to identify and implement appropriate control measures to these risks.

This manual identifies areas of risk common to all duck enterprises, along with appropriate measures to minimise these risks.  When undertaking the risk assessment, it is important to consider all factors that could impact on the biosecurity of the production area. These considerations should include the location and layout of the property and production area, water supply source, disease status of the district, proximity to other production areas with other avian species, presence and type of wildlife, and interface with the organisations and/or individual clients being supplied.  These interactions include pick-ups, service people, industry personnel, contractors feed, and deliveries of new ducks and ducklings.

The purpose of the manual is to establish a minimum set of biosecurity guidelines for the duck industry, applicable to all duck farmers – from hatcheries to the point of delivery at the processor. Commercial enterprises raising ducks for egg production, human consumption, or breeding, fall within the scope of this manual.

As the Australian duck industry develops, new innovations and husbandry methods will occur; change is anticipated.  The industry will evolve and adopt these practices over time. Some of the guidelines currently set out will change, and the Australian Duck Meat Association will, from time to time, update this manual to reflect these changes.  

A biosecurity self-audit/auditable checklist, designed for continuous improvement, is attached as Appendix 9.  This document may also form the basis for second or third party audits, as required.

Biosecurity is like any other insurance policy – it is a prudent investment.



Contine reading


  • Transfer of birds from production area to production area
  • Dead bird disposal


  • Other poultry species
  • All wild birds
  • Feral animals
  • Domestic animals – including other livestock and pets
  • Insects
  • Rodents – including rats and mice
  • Domestic birds


  • Production personnel and family members living on-site
  • Contractors, maintenance personnel, neighbours, service people and visitors
  • Transmission on hands, boots, clothing and dirty hair




  • Transmission through aerosols or dust


  • Water supplies could become contaminated with faeces from contact with avian or other animal species.


  • Feed could become contaminated by the raw materials used post-production and during transport, or by exposure to rodents and wild birds on the property.  All feed should be stored in vermin proof silos.
  • Bacteria and mould found in poor quality or damaged feed is a concern.


  • Old litter piles stored on farms can allow disease to be tracked back to sheds. 
  • Storing old litter on farms is not allowed.
  • The transport of used litter material on and off-site is a risk, as vehicles may have been to other high-risk operations. 




In this document, production area includes duck sheds, shavings sheds and areas used for feed storage and handling, and the area immediately surrounding sheds – including pickup areas. More

Property is the land where the production area is located, and typically includes the facility manager’s home.  It also includes other production land used for livestock or cultivation. The boundary of the production area, and the boundary of the property, can be the same.

Any reference to sheds refers to roofed buildings capable of, and used for, holding ducks securely within its perimeter. 

Access should always be made through ‘least risk’ areas, for example, production areas of younger or healthy birds.  In an emergency, access can be made through a ‘high-risk’ area, after a shower and complete change of clothing.  The term ‘high-risk’ area includes production areas with minimum standards of biosecurity, multi-age flocks or endemic disease problems.




These procedures should be implemented and followed on a daily basis.  They give a high degree of assurance that diseases and pathogens will not be carried into the duck production areas, and reduce the risk of transmission between production areas.  Level 1 procedures are the minimum requirements. More


Each production facility must establish and document clear guidelines for circumstances when an emergency animal disease alert should be raised, and who must be informed (e.g. in the event of an unusual increase in mortality, or a drop in production).  The action plan must also clearly state that, if an alert is raised, movements on and off the production area, and the property, must be limited to an absolute minimum, and special precautions outlined in Level 2 – High Risk Biosecurity Procedures’ must be followed.  Appendix 1 provides a template for an Emergency Animal Disease Action Plan.


In the event of an outbreak of an emergency disease or serious endemic disease, High-Risk Biosecurity Procedures will be implemented. In the case of an emergency animal disease, where applicable, standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be implemented in line with the relevant disease AUSVETPLAN manual.  The relevant government department will inform you of these procedures. More


A clear and precise action plan should be activated if an EAD is evident or suspected.  Examples of evident points that may trigger an alert are where there is a:

1.         rapid increase in mortality

2.        physical evidence of visual discomfort in the flock

3.         sudden change to the characteristics of faecal matter

4.         rapid reduction in feed and water consumption

5.         change in movement patterns within the shed

6.         drop in egg production by 10 percent.

A farmer following a daily routine of movement through a shed will quickly note any of the points above. Should observations of a flock trigger an alert, a response must be immediate. Do not wait for possibilities or situations to unfold. This is to take place regardless of the day of week or hour of the day.

If the possibility of an EAD is suspected, the following procedures should be implemented. A farmer must:

1.         make immediate contact with their company livestock manager who will notify the local veterinary advisor, or phone the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline (1800 675 888)

2.         lock the main gate to the production site

3.         restrict entry to the site, other than essential services

4.         restrict entry to the suspect shed, other than essential tasks

5.         limit discussion of potential disease outbreak to the immediate sectional manager

6.         wait for further direction and remain on the site.


[1] The National Biosecurity Manual for Poultry Production was produced by the Biosecurity Consultative Group, established as a resolution of the 2007 Government-Industry Avian Influenza Forum.  The group was structured with representatives from all sections of the poultry industry, together with Animal HealthAustralia and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry. The purpose of this group was to establish a working document setting minimum standards so individual industry sectors could develop specific company and industry programs.  The National Minimum Standards document was presented to a forum of industry and jurisdictional representatives inCanberraon 11 June, 2008, and was accepted with a direction to be adapted by industry sectors. The Biosecurity Consultative Group is directed to develop further measures to cover breeder sites, hatcheries, live bird pick-up and transport, in addition to animal welfare and environmental provisions.