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Biosecurity for Canadian Cervid Farms Producer Planning Guide
Appendix 3: Sample cervid farm layouts

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Figure 3: Sample layout (overhead view)

Figure 3: Sample layout (overhead view). Description follows.
Description of Figure 3: Sample layout (overhead view)

This overhead view of a stylized cervid farm depicts some critical infrastructure and biosecurity concepts for routine production.

Clockwise from the bottom left:

  1. The farm premises is completely enclosed with a fence to contain farmed cervids and deter entry by other animals and humans.
  2. Internal fencing is used to: separate work and production areas on the premises, separate areas of risk and manage production and traffic flows. Gates are situated to facilitate animal management and worker access.
  3. A paved parking area outside the work/production area minimizes unnecessary access by people and potential pathogen introduction.
  4. Access to the premises is managed through a designated entrance and gate that can be secured. This entrance functions as a Controlled Access Point allowing an assessment of the risks posed by people / equipment and the implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures.
  5. A hard surface area surrounds the barn which contains the handling chute / loading chute and storage areas. The loading chute is located near the entrance and is physically separated from the pens / pasture areas the herd occupies.
  6. Biosecurity signage informs the public and directs service providers that biosecurity measures are in place and must be adhered to.
  7. Catch pens and sorting pens are designed to safely and humanely handle animals.
  8. A isolation pen allows sick or newly acquired animals to be separated from the herd until their health has improved or their health status is determined to not pose a risk to the resident herd. This pen has its own waterer and movable feed trough.
  9. A weaning pen provides physical separation of younger animals from the herd and minimizes exposure to animals of different health status. It has a movable feed trough and shares a waterer with the grass pasture area.
  10. The pond in the grass pasture is enclosed by fence to prevent access by farmed cervids and other animals.
  11. The pasture areas are planted and managed to provide forage throughout the season and allows rotational grazing to minimize accumulations of manure and potential pathogens.
  12. One of the mixed pastures has a fenced feeding and catch pen to facilitate animal management. The ground is sand and gravel that promotes drainage and minimizes accumulation of organic debris.
  13. The feeding pen has a sand and gravel surface. There are multiple concrete feed troughs to accommodate large numbers of animals and allow cleaning and disinfection as necessary.
  14. A hay shed and feed silos help protect feed from contamination.

Figure 4: Sample layout (elevated front view)

Figure 4: Sample layout (elevated front view). Description follows.
Description of Figure 4: Sample layout (elevated front view)

This diagram provides a different view of the premises in figure 3. Notable biosecurity infrastructure includes:

  1. The concrete slabs under the feed silos and hay shed help to minimize contamination of feed.
  2. Feed troughs and waterers are present in all pens and pasture areas (excluding the catch and sorting pens). The isolation pen has its own waterer and feed trough. 
  3. The pond is fenced to minimize access by animals.
  4. The catch and sorting pens are constructed of durable materials. The large catch pen is constructed of metal panels that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. The other catch/sort pens are constructed of plywood sealed with a non-toxic animal safe sealant to protect the wood and facilitate cleaning and disinfection.
  5. The feed silos are located near the edge of the premises adjacent to the parking area. The silos can be filled without feed delivery vehicles entering the property. 
  6. High use feeding pens use a sand and gravel surface to promote drainage and minimize the accumulation of organic debris.

Figure 5: Sample layout of animal handling areas

Figure 5: Sample layout of animal handling areas. Description follows.
Description of Figure 5: Sample layout of animal handling areas

A closer view of the animal handling areas depicted in figures 3 and 4.

  1. The main entrance and gate which serves as a Controlled Access Point is located at the far bottom left of the diagram. The barn is sited on a hard surface that extends beyond the building walls. The hard surface is sloped to direct water away from the barn, entrance and pen areas. 
  2. The barn protects the loading and handling chute and storage areas from the elements and unwanted access by people and animals. It provides a controlled environment to handle and perform animal treatments and a location for people to clean and disinfect footwear, equipment, sanitize hands and perform clothing changes as necessary. It provides storage for materials and small equipment used on the farm and the equipment and supplies to clean and disinfect when needed. Storage areas are enclosed to minimize potential exposure and contamination of stored items during animal handling procedures.
  3. The catch and sorting pens are constructed of durable materials. The large catch pen wall is constructed of metal panels that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. The other catch/sort pen walls are constructed of plywood sealed with a non-toxic animal safe sealant to protect the wood and facilitate cleaning and disinfection. For safety purposes, the plywood panels have a ledge to allow animal handlers footing to climb over if needed.
  4. Metal gates allow movements between the pens. Installing smaller "worker gates" allow people to move between the pens with the risk of animal escape

Figure 6: Sample layout of animal handling areas

Figure 6: Sample layout of animal handling areas. Description follows.
Description of Figure 6: Sample layout of animal handling areas

This diagram provides a different view of the previous premises. A legend identifies the relevant areas.

This elevated side view of a stylized cervid farm depicts some critical infrastructure and biosecurity concepts for routine production.

Clockwise from the bottom left:

  1. The farm premises is completely enclosed with a fence to contain farmed cervids and deter entry by other animals and humans.
  2. Internal fencing is used to: separate work and production areas on the premises, separate areas of risk and manage production and traffic flows. Gates are situated to facilitate animal management and worker access.
  3. A isolation pen allows sick or newly acquired animals to be separated from the herd until their health has improved or their health status is determined to not pose a risk to the resident herd. This pen has its own waterer and movable feed trough.
  4. A weaning pen provides physical separation of younger animals from the herd and minimizes exposure to animals of different health status. It has a movable feed trough and shares a waterer with the grass pasture area.
  5. The pond in the grass pasture is enclosed by fence to prevent access by farmed cervids and other animals.
  6. The pasture areas are planted and managed to provide forage throughout the season and allows rotational grazing to minimize accumulations of manure and potential pathogens.
  7. One of the mixed pastures has a fenced feeding and catch pen to facilitate animal management. The ground is sand and gravel that promotes drainage and minimizes accumulation of organic debris.
  8. The feeding pen has a sand and gravel surface. There are multiple concrete feed troughs to accommodate large numbers of animals and allow cleaning and disinfection as necessary.
  9. A hay shed and feed silos help protect feed from contamination.
  10. A paved parking area outside the work/production area minimizes unnecessary access by people and potential pathogen introduction.
  11. Access to the premises is managed through a designated entrance and gate that can be secured. This entrance functions as a Controlled Access Point allowing an assessment of the risks posed by people / equipment and the implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures.
  12. A hard surface area surrounds the barn which contains the handling chute / loading chute and storage areas. The loading chute is located near the entrance and is physically separated from the pens / pasture areas the herd occupies.
  13. Biosecurity signage informs the public and directs service providers that biosecurity measures are in place and must be adhered to.
  14. Catch pens and sorting pens are designed to safely and humanely handle animals.

Figure 7: Spot the biosecurity concerns (corner view)

Figure 7: Spot the biosecurity concerns (corner view). Description follows.
Description of Figure 7: Spot the biosecurity concerns (corner view)

Figures 7 and 8 are stylized examples of a cervid farm that depict a number of biosecurity concerns. How many biosecurity concerns can you identify?

Description of Figure 7 – Spot the biosecurity concerns

Figure 8: Spot the biosecurity concerns (elevated front view)

Figure 8: Spot the biosecurity concerns (elevated front view). Description follows.
Description of Figure 8: Spot the biosecurity concerns (elevated front view)
  • There is no designated parking area outside the farm premises to manage vehicle and truck traffic. Vehicles are parked in various locations on the property; work vehicles can be a potential source for the introduction and spread of pathogens from off the farm, pose hazards to animals and provide shelter/nesting areas for animals.
  • The front gates to the premises are open allowing unobstructed access by people and animals.
  • There is no biosecurity signage to inform the public and direct suppliers.
  • Portions of the perimeter fence are broken and falling down.
  • The barn doors are open allowing potential access by people and animals to the handling and chute system and stored supplies.
  • There is no hard surface around the barn.
  • The hay shed roof and floor are damaged allowing contamination of stored feed by water, soil and potential pathogens.
  • Hay bales have been left unprotected in a pasture area and work area; improperly stored feed can attract animals and be contaminated by animals and pathogens in the environment.
  • The surface under the feed silos is bare soil which prohibits cleaning and disinfection and may allow contamination of feed and the vehicles distributing feed.
  • There is debris (wooden pallets, 45 gallon metal drums, and temporary fence panels etc.) in some of the pastures and storage locations which can provide nesting areas for rodents, pose a physical / chemical hazard to animals and interfere with property maintenance. The temporary fence panels, if used on other premises, pose additional biosecurity risk.
  • A few feed and water troughs are dirty / filled with organic material. The feed and water troughs need to be cleaned and disinfected. Spoiled feed, accumulations of organic debris and biofilms on feed and water troughs pose potential health risks to animals.
  • Some of the water troughs are leaking and flooding pasture areas.
  • There is damage to some of the handling areas which pose safety risks and difficulty cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • The quarantine pen has a shared water trough with the adjacent weaning pen and there is no fencing in place to prevent animals moving between these areas. Animals of only one health status could occupy these pens unless fencing is completed and separate water troughs installed.
  • Animals have access to surface water - a pond - which can be a source of pathogens and also be an attractant for other animals. 
  • There are piles of soil / manure in the pond pasture and the waterer extends beyond the exterior fenceline allowing potential contamination by other animals.
  • There are beef bulls in a few of the pens. Mixing animals of a different species and production use (e.g. the beef bulls) provides increased opportunity for pathogen introduction and spread.
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