I have my way of cleaning around the barn, but this question got me to thinking and doing a little research. I found this source, CLEANING AND DISINFECTION by the National Animal Health Emergency Management System (NAHEMS). These are the USDA people who respond to major animal disease outbreaks. They are the experts in what is clean.
Reading through it, there is a lot of technical stuff and if you followed it, you would probably have the cleanest and most sanitary facilities in your county and maybe your state. But for our purposes, let me give you a simplified version of what it means to clean a livestock facility.
NAHEMS breaks clean up into two parts, Cleaning and Disinfection. They then break Cleaning and Disinfection into three smaller parts. Let's look at each area.
Cleaning is the removal of material items from a livestock facility. The first part is called Dry Cleaning.
"Dry cleaning involves the removal of any gross contamination and organic material (e.g., soil, manure, bedding, feed) from production areas or equipment".
This is the hard work part of cleaning. Hauling out all the manure, old bedding, shavings, feed, hay, trash and finally excess dirt using shovels, rakes, wheel barrows and brooms. Remember, most of this could be put into a compost pile, but make sure the trash goes to the landfill where it belongs.
After Dry Cleaning is Washing. This is the wet work. Get you rubber boots, scrub brush, bucket and hose for this part. Find your favorite detergent (soap) and make some suds. Washing is meant to remove the stuff you didn't or couldn't get during the dry cleaning by
"...removing any oil, grease, or exudates that may inhibit the action of disinfection".
Why do we wash before we disinfect? The things washing removes allows the disinfectants to do their job better.
Once everything has be given a good soapy scrub, its needs to be rinsed and dried. Rinsing should remove all the detergent or soap and the final few pieces of stuck on manure, dirt, bedding and other organic matter. And now we can get to the easiest part, Drying. Just gather up all your cleaning supplies and let everything air dry.
"Whenever possible, surfaces should be allowed to dry completely (if possible overnight) before application of a disinfectant".
You read that right, take a break until tomorrow. Go get your wet clothes changed, make some popcorn, watch a movie with friends and relax until tomorrow!Disinfection
When everything is dry, it is time to disinfect. Now depending on what you decide to disinfect with this may be a job for the adults. Consult your veterinarian, the one you have the VCPR (veterinary client patient relationship) with. Ask them what they recommend as a disinfectant. Different disinfectants work better for different species of livestock, facility types and on different micro-organisms (the things that causes diseases).
Once Contact Time has passed, get the rubber boots out again because its time to rinse again. Make sure all the disinfectant is completely rinsed off. When you feel it is all gone, time to let it dry again.
Why Do This?
This is a lot of work and may be one of those weekend projects if your barns and facilities are big. But this process can be applied to smaller projects as well. Think about all your tack and equipment. Does it need to be cleaned and disinfected? Cleaning and disinfecting tack and equipment can help prevent the spread of a contagious micro-organism from animal to animal.
Why would someone go to all this work? Have you ever had to deal with a contagious disease or infection with your animals? Think about ringworm, wool fungus, coccidiosis, scours or worse problems. All are contagious but good sanitation can help to control the spread.
I hope you keep clean facilities for your livestock and you take time to clean them thoroughly between each new set of animal you bring in. A little extra time and effort now could prevent a lot of trouble in the future.
Kit Carson County
Golden Plains Area
Colorado State University Extension