8 Steps to a Complete House Clean Out

Cobb takes a comprehensive, proactive approach to biosecurity by creating a safe and healthy environment for our birds and our employees in every facet of our business. Part of what makes Cobb’s biosecurity program unique is the House Clean Out (HCO) process.

Between each flock, Cobb take the needed time to clean and disinfect every surface and piece of equipment in the facility. After that, Quality Assurance assists with taking samples from the house to ensure proper cleanliness standards have been achieved. Follow Cobb’s HCO process with this basic but important step-by-step guide:

  1. “Dry” Clean. Remove all organic matter (litter, feed, feathers, paper, etc.) from the house and move it off site via covered transport. This includes brushing down any dust and removing it. Dispose of all non-washable items such as paper products.
  2. Equipment.  All equipment within the house and farm must be completely cleaned and disinfected.  Small pieces of equipment such as bird scales or catch frames must be included in this process and not left outside and forgotten.   These items should be brought back into the house before the final disinfection process occurs.
  3. Pressure Wash. Pressure wash all inside surfaces – walls, floors and ceilings – with clean water and heavy-duty detergent, paying particular attention to air inlets, fans, equipment and concrete floors. Concrete floors are unique to Cobb and not an industry standard.
  4. Disinfect. Apply disinfectant by means of a foam application to kill viruses and bacteria that can infect poultry. Foam is the best method for ensuring complete coverage, as it provides longer contact time and you can see where you’ve applied it. Cobb also recommends application of approved disinfectant around the perimeter of the house.
  5. Ensure Clean Water Systems. Drain the entire water system and use an approved water line cleaner to flush the lines out. Before placing the next flock, make sure that all trace of disinfectant is removed as it can reduce water consumption by chickens and impair the future use of live vaccines.
  6. Prevent Insects and Rodents. Apply insecticide and rodenticide to the inside and outside of the house and check all other vermin-control devices. Cobb farms are specifically designed to discourage the presence and entry of pests.  Cobb Farms are built soldiery to eliminate entry points and have no vegetation around the perimeter (Technical Focus, p. 8-9).
  7. Fumigate.  Fumigation with approved products must be carried out by trained technicians and must be done under very specific environmental conditions.  After fumigation, more than 48 hours is needed before opening up the house before testing.
  8. Testing. Collect all samples from interior and exterior surfaces and analyze in the lab to make sure harmful bacteria has been removed before introducing another flock. Cobb takes at least 22 swabs from each house to test for common bacteria such as salmonella.

“Each HCO, from start to finish, takes about four to six weeks to complete. That may seem like a lot of extra work, but it’s an imperative step that ensures the health, safety and quality of our products,” said Kyle Traeger, World Quality Assurance (QA) Manager at Cobb.

Remember, biosecurity protocols protect people as well. Be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and use the proper safety equipment when performing steps such as fumigation. 

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