The Division of Animal Health, Poultry division is responsible for ensuring the Commonwealth's compliance with the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) requirements and Massachusetts General Law. Compliance with MGL Chapter 129 § 1 and MGL Chapter 129 § 26B prevents the spread of poultry diseases.
One of the goals of the NPIP (established 1935) was to eradicate salmonella pullorum-typhoid disease from the poultry industry. Compliance with the NPIP allows for poultry to move throughout the United States and overseas.
The NPIP program includes several classifications for commercial egg, meat and turkey flocks, exhibition birds and ratites. The NPIP maintains a directory of tested flocks. In order to have stock listed in this directory, each flock must meet each of the program testing requirements for the desired classification.
All commercial and exhibition flocks participating in the plan are required to test for salmonella pullorum-typhoid. Testing for Mycoplasma synoviae (MS), Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) and Mycoplasma meleagridis (MM), (turkeys only), is industry driven, but it is still voluntary. However, most commercial flocks maintain all of these classifications.
The Bureau also runs diagnostic screening on all flocks for Avian Influenza.
The correct age for testing chickens and game birds is 16 weeks; turkeys may be tested at 12 weeks.
Testing is available to Massachusetts flock owners free of charge at the present time.
All poultry on the premise that meet the age requirement for testing will be tested, this includes, but is not limited to all species of chickens, guinea fowl, peafowl, pheasants, partridge, quail, and turkeys.
It is the responsibility of the flock owner to have all birds safely confined and ready for testing when the inspector arrives. The owner is also responsible for catching his/her own birds for the inspector. The inspector will leg band and take a blood sample from each bird.
To make arrangements for testing please contact:
Esther Wegman, Animal Health
Presently there are no requirements for testing pigeons, doves and waterfowl for movement within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts . However other states may require testing of these species as an entry requirement.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), has established a surveillance program for Avian Influenza and Exotic Newcastle Disease - AI/END. Diagnostic services are available through this program at no cost to the flock owner.
Flocks experiencing sudden mortality, respiratory symptoms, or swollen heads should contact the Department as soon as possible for assistance in submittal of these birds to the laboratory for necropsy at 617-626- 1795.