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Principle #8 - Mortality Disposal

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
and Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Intern

*Please note any templates or resources that can help you, can be found in a Google Drive folder, available to everyone. Bookmark the site: for easy access. If a resource is referenced in a post, it is linked directly to the Google Drive.

Another important principle your biosecurity plan needs to address is mortality disposal. How does your farm handle mortality disposal? When writing your mortality plan, include:
  • the frequency of carcass removal 
  • storage and disposal methods 
  • Pest control around mortality and disposal areas
  • Indicate mortality disposal site on aerial map
Overall, you need to address the protocols you have in place for handling mortalities on your farm. Your protocols should describe how you minimize cross-contamination to other farm sites or between barns.

Supporting documentation that is helpful to include in this aspect of your plan can include:
  • Mortality sheets
  • Disposal records
  • Company contracts
  • Best Management Practices audits
  • SOP’s used for mortality handling
Farmers can dispose of carcasses numerous ways including burying, composting, rendering, and incinerating. Burial offers an inexpensive and biosecure method for disposal. However, all burial sites should be designed to prevent groundwater contamination. In the state of Minnesota, producers can compost poultry without a permit. Composting offers an environmentally-friendly, biosecure, and affordable approach to mortality disposal. Rendering allows carcasses to be processed into useful materials. Rendering services are available and used regularly in Minnesota. Incinerating carcasses, while more costly, is an efficient means of disposing carcasses. Incineration also eliminates pests and rodents attracted to poultry carcasses. Incinerators must be approved by the Pollution Control Agency and follow pollution control standards.

No matter which approach your mortality disposal plan follows, include a detailed description in your biosecurity plan and provide supporting documentation for disposal methods.

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