Friday, August 12, 2016

Licenses, Tests, and Rules - Oh My!

Our initial purpose in raising chickens was to have healthy fresh eggs and meat for our family.  Soon we began to enjoy raising the chickens and hatching chicks so much that we decided to raise rare breeds to sell.  Being new to the chicken scene, we didn't realize how many requirements there actually are to be able to show and ship hatching eggs or chickens and such.  We also wanted to raise Eastern Wild Turkeys (pen raised version).

The first requirement we had to meet was a Texas Wild Game Bird Breeders License.  Anyone having any birds considered game birds such as turkeys, ducks and pheasants (and others) are required to be licensed to have these birds in your possession.  This would be our first license.  Since we have less than 1000 of these birds, our license is currently $27.00 per year.  In order to obtain a license you will need to contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The second requirement to be able to sell the birds from your home is that they be PT (Pullorum/Typhoid) tested.  This is a free service provided by Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL).  We found out our region and who would be responsible for testing our birds and made an appointment.  Our guy, Mark, was very efficient, friendly and helpful.  Our birds tested clean and we were given the paperwork to pass on to our customers showing this.  He also put us in touch with the gentleman over the NPIP program here in Texas.

We contacted the NPIP representative, and found that we need only be PT clean to be in the lower tier of NPIP.  This would require an application, proof of PT testing, and $100.00 per year to become NPIP certified.  We quickly got the paperwork done and sent in to become a NPIP farm.  Being NPIP is required to be able to ship poultry or hatching eggs into most states.

Thinking we had the bases covered now, we began selling and shipping our hatching eggs.  At this point it was brought to our attention that some states (quite a few to be exact) require more for shipping in poultry or eggs.  Many require AI (Avian Influenza) testing be done as well.  After some research and correspondence with our NPIP guy, we found the name of an Avian Veterinarian who would come to our farm and test the required 30 birds for Avian Influenza.  This is a little more expensive and ended up costing us around $450.00 (which included his travel and was significantly cheaper than carrying 30 birds to any of the other Vets we'd found to do the testing).  We scheduled an appointment and had the 30 birds tested.  This took a little longer to receive the results as the blood from the birds had to be sent away for testing.  In a week or two we received the news that our birds were in fact AI (H5/H7) clean and we could proceed with the upgrade in our NPIP classification.  We sent the needed paperwork to our NPIP contact and we were upgraded to NPIP AI (H5/H7) clean classification.  Our NPIP number is 74-4222.  The NPIP is a wonderful organization that keeps track of the movement of poultry through sales and such to aid in the prevention and control of poultry related diseases.

Again, thinking we had the bases covered, we shipped more eggs.  This time it was brought to our attention that some states require you have an Import Permit for their state.  To find out which states require such permits takes some research.  Most of these permits are free but must be applied for.  We are in that process now.

Then a friend and fellow chicken person planned a local Poultry Trades Day for our area.  To be able to show or attend these trades days our flock needed to be registered with the Texas Animal Health Commission.  This requires another application, and a fee based on the number of birds in your flock. We filled out the necessary paperwork and sent the fee in.  Soon a representative for our area of the State contacted us and set up an appointment to come out and count our birds to be sure we had paid the correct fee.  Again, another nice person showed up and did what was required and we were registered.  Our TAHC permit number is 2928 and is good for one year, at which time we will register the flock again.

To date, The Singleton Roost is a P/T clean NPIP AI (H5/H7) (#74-4222) clean farm with a TAHC registered flock (Permit #2928) and a Texas Game Bird Breeders License.  It has taken a while to research requirements and to fulfill them, but we are proud to have reached this point in our effort to breed and offer for sale quality birds. Because we sell Serama (the smallest chickens in the world) we are also a member of the Serama Council of North America, The Lone Star Serama Council and the North East Texas Serama Council.  We strive to have nice pens, coops and pasture area for our birds.  We do accept visitors and customers to our farm.  Please call ahead so we can arrange a visit. We look forward to meeting you and introducing you to our amazing birds.

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