National Poultry Improvement Plan

Any farmer or individual who owns chicks, ducklings or other birds should take extra precautions to help avoid exposure to disease.

Click the links to the right for more information on proper bird handling, best management practices, testing your flock, or to request more information on pullorum testers or classes near you .



Established in the early 1930s, the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) is a cooperative program that includes the poultry industry, state and federal agencies to improve poultry and poultry products throughout the country.

NPIP was initially developed to eliminate Salmonella Pullorum Disease, which at the time ran rampant in poultry resulting in up to 80 percent mortality in chicks. Today, the program has expanded to monitor testing of multiple diseases for most poultry species of varying flock sizes. Provisions of the plan have been developed jointly by industry members, state and federal officials to prevent the introduction of dangerous pests and disease in today's poultry. The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) is the official state agency administrating NPIP in Ohio.



There are many benefits to participating in the Ohio NPIP program. One important benefit includes allowing the safe movement of hatching eggs and live birds across the state and country. NPIP is a voluntary program that helps protect both the consumer and all aspects of the poultry industry. If you are interested in participating in Ohio's NPIP program, please complete this form.

If you own birds and wish to ship poultry or eggs to another state, it is your responsibility to contact the NPIP Official State Agency and/or the State Health Officials Office of the state in which you are shipping to determine the testing requirements. State importation requirements can be found on the NPIP website at

What is Pullorum Disease? Top of Page

Pullorum Disease is caused by bacterium Salmonella pullorum. It causes disease in young chicks and poults producing white diarrhea, dehydration and high mortality. Recovered birds become lifelong carriers and produce Salmonella pullorum infected eggs which cause disease in chicks.

The disease was widespread in the United States around the early part of this century and was responsible for high losses. In 1935, the National Poultry Improvement Plan was started to control the spread of pullorum in poultry. By intensive blood testing and elimination of infected birds, the disease has been eradicated from commercial poultry flocks since the early 1970s. Pockets of infection, however, remain in backyard flocks. The disease may spread from these local isolated flocks into commercial poultry at large.

To assist in this national eradication effort, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Poultry Association work cooperatively on requiring a negative Pullorum Typhoid test for birds older than 16 weeks of age prior to being entered in a swap, sale or exhibition.

Primarily chickens and turkeys are affected; other species such as guinea fowl, parrots, partridges, peafowl, pheasants, quail and sparrows may also become infected. The rapid whole blood plate test is only intended for use in chickens and other species listed above; NOT for turkeys. A different test must be used for turkeys. Doves, pigeons and waterfowl are exempt from testing.

The Ohio Poultry Association maintains a list of certified testers and can provide contact information for testers in your area. If you wish to have your flock officially blood tested, complete this form.

Avian Influenza Top of Page

Avian influenza (AI), a virus commonly known as the "bird flu," is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus.

Avian Influenza Signs and Symptoms
One of the earliest signs of the disease is increased death with up to 100 percent mortality in many cases. Birds could also show signs of sickness through respiratory symptoms, depression, loss of appetite, decreased egg production, and/or diarrhea.

Monitor your birds for sign of disease. If disease suspected, call the Ohio Department of Agriculture: regular business hours at (614) 728-6220, or after hours at (888) 456-3405 and Ohio Poultry Association at (614) 882-6111. If you wish to participate in the Ohio AI monitored program, please contact the Ohio Poultry Association to speak with a bird health programs representative.

Biosecurity Top of Page

Consistent biosecurity practices are the best way to prevent diseases from entering your flock. The following steps can help keep your birds healthy:

  1. Keep your distance:
    Isolate your birds from visitors and other birds by setting up a Line of Separation and Perimeter Buffer Area.
  2. Keep it clean:
    Prevent germs from spreading by cleaning and disinfecting shoes, tools and equipment. Handle and store feed and water in a way to limit exposure of rodents, insects and wild birds.
  3. Don't haul disease home:
    Also, clean and disinfect vehicles and cages.
  4. Don't borrow disease from your neighbor:
    Avoid sharing tools and equipment with neighbors.
  5. Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases:
    Watch for early signs to prevent the spread of disease.
  6. Report sick birds:
    Report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths to OPA (614-882-6111) or the Ohio Department of Agriculture after hours line at (888-456-3405).