University of Maryland Extension

Buying Birds

You've decided that you want to raise a small flock of birds. Before you go out to buy any poultry, be sure to contact your local county planning office to make sure birds can be raised and produced in your area. Also, contact local zoning and building ordinances to know what building structures are permissible on your property. By contacting necessary personnel, they will determine if any special permits are needed for livestock on your property. In planning your poultry operation, it is also important to have a farm plan for manure management to avoid odor and pollution problems so you will avoid future problems with neighbors.

When buying birds, caution should be exercised. New birds should be bought only from reputable locations. Avoid auctions, fleamarkets, and imported poultry from "dockside sales". Reputable locations that sell birds may include hatcheries and breeders who participate in USDA's National Improvement Plan.  Buying new stock from suppliers who participate in USDA's NPIP program ensures new birds have been tested and are free from certain diseases. New birds present the greatest risk to biosecurity because their disease history is unknown (Jeffrey, 1997).  Plan ahead to decide where birds will be purchased.  Regardless of where birds are purchased, make sure all birds come from a healthy flock and are current on vaccinations. 

Once purchased, birds should be transported in carriers that are easy to disinfect. If transported in cardboard or wood crates, the cardboard should be disposed of properly and wood crates should be disinfected thoroughly. Plan ahead and decide where birds will be purchased before traveling to acquire them. Travel straight home after purchasing new birds. This will keep disease threat to a minimum. 

Jeffrey, J.S. 1997. Biosecurity for Poultry Flocks. University of California, Davis, School Veterinary Medicine.  
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