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Rodent infestations are a feature of rural Australia, affecting grain growers, intensive livestock industries and rural communities. For Australian poultry farmers (breeders, meat chicken, and layers) in particular, it is a constant/daily battle to keep rodents at bay. Rats (Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus) and, to a lesser extent, mice (Mus musculus) are the major offending species.

Rodents cause significant damage to farm facilities. They chew through walls to gain access to food, and break down insulation and building materials to take back to their burrows. This compromises the structural integrity of shed walls, floors and ceilings, undermining disease barriers and creating energy inefficiencies that raise operating costs. Rodents also cause a vast amount of damage to wiring, through their gnawing and burrowing. It can lead to equipment malfunctions, power outages and, in severe cases, fires, which can threaten the lives of people and livestock.

Rodents pose a major risk to food safety and food hygiene through feed contamination and the ability to transmit disease-causing organisms through their feet, fur, saliva, droppings, urine and blood. The largest rodent-related disease threat specific to poultry health, food safety and farm biosecurity is salmonellosis, an infection caused by the transmission of Salmonella bacteria. They are also a food source that can attract predators, such as foxes, stray cats, birds of prey or snakes, which in turn may contribute to disease problems or stock loss.

The importance of strict biosecurity and holistic approaches to managing rodents has been well documented, but until now, there was a lack of readily available, detailed information on up-to-date rodent control practices and the toxicological effects of various rodent control products in a format that is understandable, easy-to-use and relevant to Australian poultry producers.

About this manual

This manual is a comprehensive review of scientific literature and relevant non-published technical material that relates to available and emerging rodent control products suitable for use in Australian meat production systems. It aims to provide an objective assessment of all rodenticides currently registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

The information in this manual will help the Australian chicken meat industry understand the potential risks associated with current rodent control programs. It contains information relating to target species’ behaviour and ecology, integrated rodent management strategies, and novel and emerging rodent control products, as well as key product information that can be used to improve on-farm rodent management.

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