Poultry Disinfection and Fumigation Guide

Guide for Poultry Disinfection and Fumigation

Today, we learn Poultry Fumigation and Poultry Disinfection.

How to disinfect or fumigate a poultry house

Poultry is domesticated avian species that can be raised for eggs, meat and feathers. Poultry is raised throughout the world, with chickens by far the leading species in all places. Farmers increase more than 50 billion chickens annually as a source of food, both for their meat and for their eggs.  Disinfection or fumigation of a poultry house is a very important managerial function in poultry production. The health situation of the poultry birds is determined by the nature of their environment. For a healthy poultry farm, you want to ensure your farm environment is as healthy as your birds.

Disease-causing agents are randomly dispersed in the environment. A few are present in the air, earth, water, etc.; these natural bodies harbor disease pathogens. Disease pathogens such as; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; are ubiquitous. They only want a place to incubate and multiply. Poultry birds are fragile and vulnerable to these pathogens if the environment is not kept clean and free from dirt and environmental contaminants. For a successful poultry farmer, one should be aware of methods of poultry disinfection and fumigation.

Steps that should be taken to disinfect a poultry house/Poultry disinfection process:

Poultry House.
Poultry House.

Create a plan: A poultry house cleaning and disinfection program must have a plan, detailing dates, times, labor and equipment needed. This must be established prior to depleting the farm.

Control insects: Wearing suitable protective equipment, spray the poultry farm interior with an insecticide as soon as the flock is removed and while the house is still warm. A second treatment with insecticide must be completed before fumigation.

Remove dust: Eliminate all dust and cobwebs from interior surfaces and equipment.

Pre-spray: Wearing appropriate protective tools, spray detergent solution throughout the broiler house interior to dampen any remaining dust. Lock the curtains in open-sided poultry houses first.

Remove equipment: Remove all equipment from the house and increase automatic feeders and drinkers.

Remove and dispose of litter: Litter must be removed to a distance of at least two miles and disposed of in accordance with government regulations.

Wash and rinse: Apply a pressure washer with a foamy detergent. Make sure the detergent is compatible with the disinfectant to be used. Rinse by using hot water.

Clean water and feeding systems: Water pipes must be cleaned at least once per flock to remove any biofilm that may have built up. If physical cleaning is not probable, use high levels (140 ppm) of chlorine. Empty bulk bins and linking pipes and brush out. Clean out and close all openings.


Formaldehyde has been required for many years as an effective poultry house fumigant. Human safety and legal usage of this chemical should be considered prior to its application in any sanitation program. The physical environment through fumigation is critical to its efficacy, and these are the points to follow

  1. Increase the relative humidity to 70 to 80%.
  2. Ensure house temperature is at least 21°C (70°F) as formaldehyde gas speedily loses efficacy as a disinfectant below this temperature.
  3. Wash down all surfaces of water in the house, thus increasing the relative humidity and gaining maximum benefit from both the gaseous actions of formaldehyde and its condensation into a polymerized form.
  4. The house must be sealed and left to cool for 24 hours after fumigation, thus promoting uniform condensation

Fumigation absorbs the use of toxic chemicals that are dangerous to their handler. Hence, these are the precautions for poultry house fumigation:

  • The gas is toxic; therefore, you must avoid inhaling it or use a respirator.
  • You must not allow the formalin to touch your skin or hand to avoid irritation. Hence ensure that you wear a pair of runner gloves before handling formalin.
  • Don’t fumigate your live chicks except there is an outbreak of omphalitis (inflammation of the navel) in the flock.
  • Don’t add KMnO4 to formalin but include formalin to KMnO4 to prevent an explosion.

Read: How To Raise Chickens In Deep Litter System.

Steps in Disinfecting and Fumigating a Poultry Farm:

When you disinfect, all you are doing is to eliminate pathogens from your farm environment. The following materials can be used for Disinfecting and Fumigating a Poultry Farm:

  • Detergent or soap
  • Sunlight
  • Disinfectants
  • Heat (direct and steam)

The above are disinfecting agents. There are several stages of disinfection to enhance efficiency.

The first stage in disinfecting is cleaning. This is where farmers go wrong; they do not clean before disinfecting. Cleaning is the physical removal of foreign matters that are dust, soil, droppings, litter materials and blood, etc.; cleaning is very important in disinfecting. A perfect cleaning will remove about 80% of disease-causing agents. The two steps of cleaning procedure Dry cleaning and Wet cleaning.

Dry Cleaning:

Sweep or blow dust and other loose dirt off ceilings, light fixtures, walls, nest boxes, fans, air inlets, etc. onto the floor. Eliminate all feed from feeders. Scrape manure and accumulated dust from perches and roosts. Eliminate all litter from the floor.  After that litter can be added to a compost pile. Sweep the floor to remove a dry material as possible. With a small coop, a wet-dry shop vacuum does an excellent job of removing this material. However, be careful to clean the filter often as the fine dust from the coop may simply clog the filter and make the vacuum work harder or lead to burn out of the motor.

Wet Cleaning:

Turn the power off to the house prior to using any water for cleaning. Wet cleaning is completed in three steps. These are; soaking, washing and rinsing process. Warm water will do a better job getting through organic matter than cold water. Use a cheap neutral detergent, like dish soap.

The following are the wet cleaning steps for a poultry house;


Soak the heavily soiled areas (perches and roosting areas, floors, etc.) carefully. Use a low-pressure sprayer to completely soak all surfaces. Soak until the accumulated dirt and manure has softened to the point it is simply removed.


Wash every surface in the building, particularly window sills, ceiling trusses, wall sills and any surface where dirt and dust may accumulate. The washing solution can be either a neutral detergent pH level between 6 and 8 or an alkaline detergent pH level above 8. Alkaline substances differ in their strength with the strongest causing burns and internal injuries if swallowed. A mild alkali is a baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and moderate alkalis contain household ammonia, borax, and trisodium phosphate. Strong alkalis contain washing soda (sodium carbonate) and lye (caustic soda). Mix in hot water that menas160°F or hotter is best.

A high-pressure sprayer is excellent for this step, but manual scrubbing with a moderately stiff brush is one of the best ways to ensure a thorough clean. Inspect manually to be sure you removed all of the dirt and manure from all surfaces. Make sure carefully clean electrical parts.  You may have to eliminate cover plates and vacuum those areas.

If you have metal surfaces with hard water scale, then you will want to use an acid detergent on those surfaces to remove the scale. Acid detergent involves acid as the main component which is used in dissolving mineral deposits (Calcium and Magnesium precipitates) or hard water deposits from equipment surfaces. Two major groups of acid detergents are; inorganic (HCL, H2SO4), and organic (Vinegar, Citric Acid).


A final rinse immediately after washing is recommended to remove any harmful residues and to get a spotless building. Mop up puddles as they can quickly become breeding grounds for salmonellae.

Read: Horticulture Training Centers In India.


Thoroughly air-dry the building if disinfection cannot instantly follow rinsing. Open every windows and ventilation openings. Utilize a blower or fan if available. Cleaning in a dry, sunny day helps the drying procedure.

Make any repairs to the structure prior to the last disinfection step. Seal any rodent access holes on the outside and inside of the building. Apply a little amount of spray foam insulation in the hole, then pack in fine steel wool and top with more spray foam.


Disinfectants must be applied only after the building and equipment have been thoroughly cleaned, ideally right after rinsing. Disinfectants can be useful by sprays, aerosols or fumigation. Don’t be intimidated by the thinking of “fumigating” your hen house, for most little flock facilities, using a garden type sprayer is the easiest process, and chances are you already have a suitable disinfectant around the house.

There are different types of disinfectants used in disinfecting poultry house. They are:

  • Phenolic compounds: Examples are: Pinesol, One stroke osyl, Prophyl 75, etc.
  • Iodine or iodophors: Example is: Betadine, Weladol
  • Chlorine compounds: Examples are: Clorox, generic bleach.
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds: Also called Quats; an example is: Timsen, Medisep, Roccal D plus, Germex, etc.
  • oxidizing compounds Examples are: Virkon S, Oxy-Sept 333
  • Coal tar distillates: Examples are: Crex-A-Chek, Pantex.
  • Aldehydes: A good example is Formalin.

All these compounds can be used for disinfecting after careful cleaning. You want to be wary about their usage.

Ensure all poultry farm equipment like feeders, drinkers, trays, and other convenient equipment; are evacuated from the pen. You can soak the equipment to loosen any caked dirt before scrubbing for the total elimination of dirt. Do first washing with water at high pressure; this helps to forcefully eliminate dirt from angles and crevices before disinfecting. After the first wash, use detergent to thoroughly wash the pen; scrape and brush places that are essential to enhance the effectiveness of the disinfectant.

Safety precautions during disinfecting or fumigating a poultry house:

They come in different concentration and method of usage, there are certain precautions to take before applying disinfectants; they are:

  • Several disinfectants are very poisonous; hence, you want to store in a locked cabinet away from food items.
  • Read the label and instructions embedded in any disinfectant before administering in a poultry farm.
  • Always wear caring wears to avoid direct contact with these chemical compounds.
  • Do not drink or eat anything while disinfecting.
  • Proper sanitation of a poultry farm is a cogent prerequisite to the profitability of the poultry farm. When your farm is free from contaminants, you can be sure of the healthy flock and equally save the cost of treating unruly poultry diseases.

That’s all folks about “Poultry Disinfection and Fumigation”.

Read: Ideas for Community Gardening.


  1. How do I fumigates layers in battery cage? What material is save and at what dosage do I apply the chemical?

    How is lice and flea treated in a flock

    How do I eliminate wild birds with their nests like Quella from my poultry farm?


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