Pulcino protetto

Call them ‘Intensively Protected’ farms!

Professional poultry farms are protected places. They protect the animals.

However, there are those even in the industry who, out of habit, call them intensive. Then it would be good to redefine them even more precisely and correctly: they are ‘intensively protected‘ farms.

Places where animals find shelter from any possible agents that could weaken them or make them sick.

Such as? For example? However protected, a farm can always have a small crevice through which insects can enter. Especially flies that can carry infections.

We humans have all kinds of platelets, sprays and repellents, but on farms the solutions have to be very attentive to the health of the chickens and keep the quality of the air, water, feed, litter and all the surfaces in the environment where they are kept high.


Farmers, in spite of what some detractors say, have to take care of the welfare of the animals they rear, and they do this constantly also in relation to the ‘fly factor’, and in order to solve it without harming the health of the chickens they rear, they resort to the results of specialised research of some companies that deal with this very problem.

The temperatures and humidity of the farms, kept constant, are paradoxically instrumental to the well-being of the chickens, but at the same time provide a favourable environment for the development of fly larvae, which reach maturity within two weeks of laying.

The fly is particularly ravenous and fast and takes advantage of the presence of fresh, moist organic matter to lay its eggs. The fly is also a transmitter of viruses and bacteria in the world of humans, but in the poultry sector their presence must be combated by protecting the health of chickens in order to protect the health of the end consumer and the quality of farm production.

The presence of flies not only endangers the health of animals but also causes reactions in them that must be kept under control. For example, if particularly disturbed and stressed, chickens tend to produce droppings more frequently than normal, potentially creating favourable conditions for the deposition and development of fly larvae.

Research also makes a difference here, and companies specialising in preventing the development of flies in livestock have turned their attention to the insect’s life cycle: the larvae. It is on these that certain inhibitors act, which are mixed into the material from which bedding is prepared. Because adult flies are only the tip of the iceberg: the bulk of the population in fact remains hidden in the environment in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae.

Highlighting attentions like this, which farmers have, should convince their detractors to desist from criticising farming. And yet it is never enough.

It is therefore worth listing at least a part of the amount of cleaning attention that a farmer must have to ensure that the animals raised can live in welfare and result in “turnover”.


The good farmer in order to make an ‘INTENSIVELY PROTECTED FARMING‘ takes care of:

Planning: the outcome of cleaning activities in the environment depends on the timely completion of all operations. Cleaning time is also the opportunity to carry out routine maintenance work.

Cleanliness of the premises: The premises are cleaned and disinfected to the point where all potential animal and human-borne pathogens are removed, and the number of bacteria, viruses and parasites remaining between cycles is reduced to a minimum.

Insect control: all kinds of insects are eliminated before they can hide between structures.

Dust removal: dust, debris and cobwebs are removed from fan flaps, beams, window blinds in open sheds, windowsills and masonry parts. The best results are achieved by using brushes and blowers so that all dust falls on the bedding before it is removed and replaced.

Preliminary spray: a cleaning solution is used on all interior surfaces of the shed: from ceiling to floor. It serves to break down dust before the bedding and equipment are removed. In open sheds, the window shades are closed first.

Equipment: all equipment and accessories (troughs, troughs, fences, etc.) are removed from the shed and moved to the concrete pitches outside. Automatic troughs and drip troughs are lifted during these cleaning operations. All repairs and maintenance are completed before cleaning and disinfecting.

Litter removal: all litter and debris is removed from the sheds and placed on trailers and skips brought into the sheds. Once filled and covered with a tarpaulin to prevent spreading material outside, the wheels of the vehicles are brushed and disinfected before leaving the sheds.

Disposal of litter: litter is not stored on the farm or scattered in its vicinity, but moved and disposed of at least 3-4 km away in accordance with local authority regulations in one of the following ways:

  • spread on arable land that must be ploughed within a week
  • buried in authorised landfills, quarries or pits
  • piled and fermented for at least a month before being spread on pasture land
  • incinerated
  • burned as bio-fuel.

Washing: before washing of the “INTENSIVELY PROTECTED FARM” begins, it is checked that the electricity has been cut off from the entire shed to avoid the risk of electric shock by operating the main switch, which is also locked with a padlock as a precaution. To remove dirt and debris remaining in the hall and on the equipment, a high-pressure cleaner with available industrial-grade detergents is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The detergent used must be compatible with the disinfectant that is sprayed in the next step. After spraying the cleaning agent, the hall and equipment are rinsed with clean, fresh water using a pressure washer again. Hot water is used for this cleaning and excess water on the floor is removed with rubber-edged squeegees. Waste water is disposed of properly to avoid recontamination of the shed. All removed equipment is also washed, rinsed and then covered.

Inside the shed of the FARM INTENSIVELY PROTECTED” special attention is paid to fan boxes and, in particular, fan shafts, fan grills, areas above the rafters, window sills, water pipes and troughs. Portable scaffolding and torches are used to make sure that all hard-to-reach places are cleaned.

The areas outside the sheds of an INTENSIVELY PROTECTED FARM” are also washed, with special attention paid to the air intakes, gutters and concrete pitches (especially in the areas where the animals enter and leave the shed). In open sheds, tents are washed both internally and externally.

Anything that cannot be washed (e.g. plastic, cardboard) is destroyed. At the end of washing, no dirt, dust, debris or litter must remain. Properly executed washing obviously requires time and attention to detail. Of particular importance is the cleanliness of the premises and staff clothing


All this underlines how opportune it has become for farmers, technicians and the entire poultry industry to strive for a new and more correct definition of industrial poultry farms.

The term ‘INTENSIVELY PROTECTED FARMING’ is much more appropriate, correct, sustainable and adherent to the facts.

In order to accelerate the spread of the adoption of this term, we at M.A.C. suggest that it should be put into circulation by the operators of the large-scale retail trade by using it in both commercial and ‘in-store’ communication to the public.


The Editorial Board of M.A.C.