Checking things off the "to-do" list: bi-annual Avian Influenza flock test done - CHECK! Another layer of complexity that some local food only farms do not have to deal with!
Old Time Farm participates in the National Poultry Improvement Program or NPIP. Our rare Partridge Chantecler chicks and Chantecler hatching eggs are shipped all over the country to homesteads, farmsteads and show homes - not just egg producers or meat birds for local markets. To ship chicks and hatching eggs across state lines legally, states require you to be a participant in this program which is one precautionary layer to the spread of transmissible poultry diseases.
The NPIP program is a state/federal partnership that is administered by the Department of Agriculture in our state. Our facility/hatchery is inspected annually by the PA Dept. of Ag for cleanliness and our entire flock is inspected for disease as well. Our birds are blood tested for Salmonella Pullorum annually and Avian Influenza twice a year. We are required to keep records of where birds are sold to, have plans for how to reduce our birds exposure to disease (biosecurity plan) and all birds coming onto our farm must first be blood tested or come from another NPIP participant flock.
Pennsylvania utilizes state trained and licensed Certified Poultry Technicians (CPT) to draw the blood for the tests. I obtained my CPT licensure so I could draw blood from our birds after they have roosted at night so there would be less stress on them (and me). I was trained on how to properly draw blood, secure & ship proper samples, biosecurity, identification of disease and more. The state monitors my procedures and processes to make sure I am using best practices.
I was told that it would be almost impossible for us to obtain the NPIP certification because our birds are on pasture or free range. The program is geared toward confined birds used for industrial agriculture so our pre-industrial methods created some challenges in understanding where we fit in. I am extremely thankful that our state has worked with me so I can meet the needs of our genetics customers as well as those at the farmers markets we attend as well as our own nutritional needs.
More coming on biosecurity soon - we need to protect the biomes of our local farms. Yes, farms have biomes too!
Old Time Farm