Biosecurity practices for animal health: guidance

Biosecurity is a set of management practices that collectively reduce the potential for the introduction or spread of animal disease-causing organisms onto and between farms.

Separation and isolation

The following points are a basic guide to biosecurity, separation and isolation:

  • keep new animals separate from the rest of your herd/stock until your vet is sure they carry no disease. In many cases two to three weeks, depending on the animal, will provide sufficient time for disease to become apparent. In other cases, for example brucellosis, incoming breeding heifers may need to be kept apart from the main herd until they have calved normally, up to a year after purchase
  • minimise nose to nose contact with neighbouring stock
  • have stock proof boundaries
  • check boundaries regularly
  • prevent animals from straying onto roads
  • if common grazings are used try to isolate incoming stock before turning them onto common grazings
  • keep visitors and their vehicles away from livestock
  • at the first sign of illness isolate sick animals, with the dam if appropriate, and check all the other animals in the herd/flock etc. Thereafter, handle isolated stock last
  • newly born animals are particularly susceptible to disease so make sure that designated calving and lambing areas are regularly cleansed and disinfected



Tel: 0300 244 9874
Fax: 0300 244 9797

Scottish Government
Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
Animal Health and Welfare
P Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD

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