Registration and records of poultry
- This guidance is for England
Owners / keepers of poultry are required to notify / register as keepers of poultry with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and to keep records relating to their poultry.
These records include:
- the movement of poultry and eggs on to and off premises
- the transport and marketing of poultry
- any medicinal treatment administered and mortalities
- measures put in place to control hazards
- the results of testing for salmonella
Notification: the Great Britain Poultry Register
The Avian Influenza (Preventive Measures) (England) Regulations 2006 require any person who keeps 50 or more poultry at any one premises to notify Defra of the following:
- address of premises and holding number (if it has one)
- keeper's name and address and, if different, that of the owner of the poultry and the occupier of the premises
- species kept
- type of husbandry system (meat, eggs or hatching eggs)
- incubator capacity of any hatchery
- number of each species usually kept
- seasonal variations that might result in significant differences in number of species
- number and species with access to open air
- whether the poultry are kept in the presence of, or in the vicinity of, any body of water that attracts wild birds
New keepers must register with Defra within one month of acquiring the birds.
Defra encourages keepers with fewer than 50 birds notify it voluntarily, making it easier and quicker for you to be contacted in a disease outbreak situation, and therefore allowing any potential disease outbreak situation to be better managed and resources effectively targeted.
'Poultry' is defined in the Regulations as "all birds that are reared or kept in captivity for the production of meat or eggs for consumption, the production of other commercial products, for restocking supplies of game or for the purposes of any breeding programme for the production of these categories of birds".
How to register:
- phone. Freephone 0800 634 1112. Trained advisors will then complete the form with you over the phone or, alternatively, send you a form to complete
- post / email. You can register your flock by post or email using the GOV.UK website to download the required form
Changes to information (address, owner, occupier, species kept) or a change in numbers (plus or minus 20%) must be notified to Defra within one month of the change taking place (this does not include usual management fluctuations).
Fairs, markets, shows, exhibitions or other gatherings
Gatherings of poultry or captive birds at fairs, markets, shows, exhibitions or other events are allowed under a general licence issued by Defra. Licence conditions require the event organiser / licensee to comply with notification and biosecurity requirements and make a record of all people who bring poultry or other captive birds to a gathering or take such birds from a gathering. These records are to be kept for three months and must include the following information:
- full name
- home address and address where birds were kept prior to the event, if this is different
- telephone number
- number and type of birds exhibited
- a confirmation from entrants that they will comply with biosecurity arrangements
- a declaration that the birds exhibited have not, to the best of the owner's / keeper's knowledge
- been in contact with any birds infected with a notifiable avian disease
- come from an avian disease control zone
Movement records of poultry and/or eggs
The Diseases of Poultry (England) Order 2003 requires every person:
- engaged in the transport or marketing of poultry or eggs (including a slaughterer or auctioneer) to keep a record in respect of any poultry or eggs transported or marketed
- who owns or keeps any flock of 250 poultry or greater, consisting of any species on the premises, to keep a record of poultry entering or leaving those premises
'Poultry' is defined in the Order as "domestic fowls, turkey, geese, ducks, guinea fowls, quails, pigeons, ratites and pheasants and partridges reared or kept in captivity for breeding, the production of meat or eggs for consumption or for restocking supplies of game".
this is different to the definition in the Avian Influenza (Preventive Measures) (England) Regulations 2006 (see above).
Record details required:
- date and place poultry or eggs obtained
- species and description
- name and address of person from whom obtained
- date they left the premises
- name and address of person to whom they were transferred
- destination (if known)
- purpose for which they left the premises
Retention and production of records:
- records to be kept for 12 months from when dated as being marketed or transported
- records to be produced to an inspector at all reasonable times
Every person who owns or keeps racing pigeons must keep a record of every race or show for which they enter their pigeons.
Every racing pigeon entered for a race or show must be vaccinated against paramyxovirus 1 (the cause of Newcastle disease).
Control of salmonella in breeding and laying flocks, and in hatcheries
The Control of Salmonella in Poultry Order 2007 requires the occupier of a holding on which one or more breeding or laying flocks of at least 250 poultry of any single species are kept, and any occupier of a poultry hatchery with a total incubator capacity of 1,000 eggs or more, to notify Defra of its existence.
Definitions in the Order:
- 'poultry' is defined as "birds of the species Gallus gallus, turkey, ducks and geese"
- 'laying flock' is defined as "a flock of poultry kept for the production of eggs intended for human consumption"
- 'breeding flock' is defined as "a flock kept for the production of eggs intended for incubation"
In relation to the breeding or laying flocks of the species Gallus gallus, the Order requires:
- sampling for salmonella
- prior notification of the arrival of breeding flocks (at least two weeks before the expected arrival date) to Defra
- notification two weeks prior to the movement to the laying phase and end of production cycle of breeding flocks
- record of movement and for samples for salmonella movements
Sampling for salmonella for breeding flocks should occur:
- when the birds are chicks
- when the birds are four weeks old
- two weeks before the date the flock is moved to a laying unit, or (if they are not moved) the date they are expected to come into lay
- every second week during the laying period
Sampling for salmonella for laying flocks should occur:
- when the birds are chicks
- two weeks before the date the flock is moved to a laying unit or (if they are not moved) the date they are expected to come into lay
- every 15 weeks during the laying period, starting when the birds are between 22 and 26 weeks old
The occupier of premises must keep a record of the sample taken as follows:
- type of sample
- date sample taken
- identification of flock sampled
- age of flock sampled
- laboratory to which sample was sent
- result of any test on any sample
The above applies to breeding flocks (250 minimum) and to laying flocks, except those where all the eggs are for either:
- private domestic use
- supplied in small quantities by the producer to the final consumer or to local retail shops
RECORD OF MOVEMENTS
The occupier of premises must keep a record of the movement of domestic fowl and eggs (other than eggs for human consumption) on to and off holdings as follows:
- date of movement
- whether the movement was on to or off the holding
- number of birds or eggs moved
- age of the birds moved
- if a whole flock is moved, the identification of that flock
- the identity of the building(s) into or from which the birds or eggs were moved
- the address of the holding of destination (for movements off) or the address of the holding of origin (for movements on)
When eggs or chicks are moved on to or off the hatchery, the occupier must record the following:
- date of movement
- the number of eggs or chicks moved
- whether the movement is on to or off the hatchery
- if the movement is off the holding, the holding destination
- in the case of eggs brought on to the hatchery for incubation, holding of origin
All records must be retained for two years and be produced to an inspector on demand.
Control of salmonella in broiler flocks
The Control of Salmonella in Broiler Flocks Order 2009 requires the occupier of the holding on which one or more broiler flocks are kept to notify Defra of this information within three months of the establishment of the holding and to sample for salmonella.
'Broiler flock' is defined in the Order as "a flock kept for the production of meat intended for human consumption".
Records of salmonella samples taken should be kept as follows:
- type of sample taken
- date on which the sample was taken
- where there is more than one flock on the holding, the identification of the flock from which the sample was taken
- age of the flock sampled
- laboratory to which the sample was sent
- intended date of slaughter of the flock sampled
- results of tests
When birds are moved on to or off the holding, the occupier must record:
- the date of the movement
- whether movement was on to or off the holding
- number of birds moved
- age of birds moved
- in case of the movement of an entire flock, the identification of that flock where there is more than one flock on the holding
- the identity of the building or group of buildings into or from which the birds were moved
- the address of the holding that they came from or the slaughterhouse or holding they were sent to
All records must be retained for two years and be produced to an inspector on demand.
The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 requires poultry that are transported to be accompanied by an animal transport certificate (ATC) showing the:
- origin and ownership of the poultry
- place of departure
- date and time of departure
- intended place of destination
- expected duration of the intended journey
transport records are not required for transport of poultry:
- that does not take place in connection with an economic activity
- to and from veterinary practices
- by farmers of their own birds and in their own means of transport for a distance of less than 50 km from their holding (31.07 miles)
Records must be retained for six months and be produced to an inspector on demand.
Further information on the documentation required to transport poultry can be found in 'Transporting livestock by road: paperwork'.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 require a person responsible for farmed animals (animals bred or kept for the production of food, wool, skin or other farming purposes) to maintain a record of:
- any medicinal treatment given
- the number of mortalities found on each inspection, which must be at least once a day
These records must be kept for three years and made available to an inspector on request.
The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 require keepers of food-producing animals to keep a record of:
- proof of purchase of veterinary medicines:
- name of product and batch number
- quantity purchased
- name and address of supplier
- date of acquisition
- name of product
- date of administration
- quantity administered
- withdrawal period
- identification of animals treated
- date of disposal
- quantity of the product involved
- how and where it was disposed of
If the product is administered by a vet, they must either complete the record or provide written details and the keeper must then complete the records. Records - including proof of purchase - must be kept for five years and be produced to an inspector on demand.
Further information on the record-keeping requirements in relation to the purchasing, administration and disposal of veterinary medicines can be found in 'Keeping veterinary medicine records'.
Food business records
The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and EU Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs require food business operators to keep and maintain records relating to measures put in place to control hazards. In particular, those rearing animals or producing primary products of animal origin should keep records that include:
- the nature and origin of feed fed to the animals
- veterinary medicinal products or other treatments administered to the animals, dates of administration and withdrawal periods
- the results of any analysis carried out on samples taken from animals or other samples taken for diagnostic purposes that have importance for human health
- any relevant reports or checks carried out on animals or products of animal origin
- the occurrence of diseases that may affect the safety of the meat
These records are to be made available to an inspector and receiving food business operators, on request.
Other persons - such as veterinarians, agronomists and farm technicians - may assist food business operators with the keeping of records.
Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.
Additionally, under some legislation, where a person is found not to be complying with a notice, the enforcing authority may arrange for the notice to be complied with and the person will be liable for any costs incurred.
- Key legislation
- Animal Health Act 1981
- Diseases of Poultry (England) Order 2003
- EU Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
- Avian Influenza (Preventive Measures) (England) Regulations 2006
- Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006
- Control of Salmonella in Poultry Order 2007
- Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007
- Control of Salmonella in Broiler Flocks Order 2009
- Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
- Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013
Last reviewed / updated: January 2020
In this update
General detail added
- Please note
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.
If you keep poultry or racing pigeons there are certain registration and record-keeping requirements
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