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Poultry farming guidance

This guidance sets out the hygiene controls and regulations that those producing poultry for consumption in the UK must adhere to.

Last updated: 13 February 2024
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Last updated: 13 February 2024
See all updates

This poultry guidance sets out the criteria that you need to meet if you want to be authorised to:

  • slaughter poultry on-farm 
  • supply uneviscerated birds to approved premises for further processing

Evisceration is the removal of the internal organs (viscera) from slaughtered birds.

Uneviscerated birds is a term used to describe poultry (and small game) which are sold or hung without having the viscera removed.

To apply for on-farm slaughter you must comply with the relevant legislation.

England and Wales

In England and Wales you must comply with:

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland you must comply with:

  • Regulation (EC) 853/2004, Annex III, Section II, Chapter VI (slaughter on the farm)
  • requirements for production and rearing of live birds specified in Part A, Annex I of Regulation (EC) 852/2004 and the appropriate Chapters of Annex II of that regulation

Farmers are seen as Food Business Operators (FBO) and must also have Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) in place that are appropriate to their business.

Poultry farmers

The farm where production happens must undergo regular veterinary inspections to check the health of the poultry.

Before slaughter, the bird must have had an ante-mortem inspection. This is to confirm that the bird is fit to be slaughtered. An Official Veterinarian is required to carry out an ante-mortem inspection unless it has been done by an Approved Veterinarian.

It is your responsibility to arrange this inspection with an Official Veterinarian within our Operations Group or an Approved Veterinarian.

The holding must have premises suitable for the hygienic slaughter and further handling of the birds.

You need to consider the welfare of the birds. You must ensure that there is minimal pain and distress caused during the handling and slaughter.

You are responsible for making sure that the food produced by your business is safe to eat.

After slaughter, all animal by-products must be disposed of as quickly as possible. Animal by-products must not be able to contaminate meat for human consumption.

Northern Ireland

If you are based in Northern Ireland, you need to arrange the inspection with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Rural affairs (DAERA) Veterinary Services.