Currently, both backyard and endangered heritage chickens are ordered online. Once ordered, these birds are dropped to their new homes via the post office. This is a very convenient way of transporting baby chickens from breeders to their new owners.
Even though sending chicks to their new owners through the post office is convenient, there is still one major concern; the source of your baby chickens. You have to know whether your chicks came from clean incubators and healthy stock or not.
To be sure of the source of your chickens, you need to inquire about the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) certification from the hatchery where you are buying your chicks from.
What is NPIP?
NPIP is the short form for National Poultry Improvement Plan. This is a voluntary program run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to oversee and monitor hatcheries and flocks. Most hatcheries at the basic level are usually tested to ensure that they are free of infectious diseases such as Mycoplasma, Salmonella, and low-path Avian Influenza.
If you want your farm or hatchery to take part in the NPIP program you must take into account the standard sanitation, facility guidelines, and testing. All these steps are necessary since they help ensure that your birds are healthy throughout. Furthermore, NPIP provides additional testing and certification to ensure that your chickens are clean and free of certain diseases.
The program has expanded to include all types of flocks besides large poultry. NPIP is gaining popularity among the small egg-producing flocks and show bird breeders. This logical step helps you to achieve a certain professional status when you are engaged in selling eggs or chickens. It simply makes potential buyers have trust in your products.
People purchasing your top-quality show birds will most likely have confidence in you. Also, they will know that their investment in healthy and quality livestock is not in vain. Egg customers will as well as rest easy knowing your products (eggs or chickens) are safe for consumption.
If you have NPIP certification, you will enjoy some additional benefits. One of the positive sides of NPIP is the ease with which you will be able to mail chicks across different states through post office services.
In case your flock becomes suddenly ill of a disease like Avian Influenza, the USDA will take up the task of reimbursing you for your affected birds. During the USDA’s depopulation of flocks that are not NPIP certified, you will receive 25% of the total value of your loss.
How to Become NPIP Certified?
One vital piece of information you need at the back of your mind is that each state provides different rules and regulations regarding NPIP certification. Therefore, you must check with your respective state to know which directives to follow in order for your flock to be NPIP certified. The following information will give you a general idea concerning the entire process.
To get your poultry NPIP certified, you can reach out to a Certified Pollorum Tester. Alternatively, you can test your own birds once you become a Certified Tester. You may contact an official NPIP agency from your state to get the state-specific forms and instructions on how to go about the testing process. This is because each state follows its own process, method, fees, and paperwork.
Once you are done with filling the forms, sending them to the USDA, and meeting your state’s requirements, your poultry farm will undergo a thorough inspection before the initial testing possess takes place. After the first testing, you will be required to maintain the certification by carrying out retests as per your respective state’s guidelines.
Why Should You Buy from NPIP Breeders?
Buying chickens from NPIP breeders is the best option because you are sure of the quality of birds you are about to acquire. The NPIP breeders focus mainly on certifying their breeding stock, eliminating certain diseases, and assessing bird performance.
In reality, they help improve the quality of different types of poultry and their products. They establish standards for the testing (evaluation) of hatching eggs, poultry breeding stocks, poults, and baby chicks.
If you are buying poultry products from someone else, your key concern should be whether they are NPIP certified or not. As such, it is always a good idea to acquire NPIP certified flocks from responsible breeders and major hatcheries.
What is PT Testing for Chickens?
The Polorrum-Typhoid (PT) testing process aims at controlling and eradication of fowl typhoid and pullorum disease from poultry flocks. This process is simply a blood test for your chickens or other types of poultry.
Normally the blood is drawn from under the wing of your bird. A drop of drawn blood is then mixed with pullorum antigen and left to react for a few seconds or up to two minutes. If the results are positive, the mixture will give a coagulated appearance. But if the results are negative, the entire mixture will remain mixed evenly no matter how long the process takes.
How to Get Your Chickens Tested?
You need to join the NPIP program in your state to have your chickens tested. Joining this program is the first step and it entails a review of the NPIP Provisions Document, application, and the new member’s packet.
The next step involves sending the completed application form to the Avian Program by email. Your application must be in either PDF or Word doc. format. Also, it should include the total number of chickens on your premises complete with their stock codes.
Once the USDA in your state receives the application, it will send it to the veterinarian within your area. The vet will get in touch with you to schedule the site inspection and testing appointment. The certification process may take up to two months for your chickens to be fully tested and be NPIP certified.
NPIP is not only a program for hatcheries and commercial flocks but also for the needs of small-time farms and fancy breeders. When you are out there looking for chicks, make sure to purchase them from NPIP chicken hatcheries or flock. NPIP certified breeders will help you buy healthy birds that are free of diseases, parasites, or deformities.Chickens