NPIP testing in Colorado

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wsmith, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    NPIP is an acronym for "National Poutry Improvement Plan" It was implimented starting in the early 1930's to provide testing and diagnosis for poultry folocks, with a goal of improving poultry and poultry products. Way back then, Salmonella Pullorum was responsible fir about 80% mortality in chicks (Source: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_dis_spec/poultry/) The testing varies from state to state, but in Colorado they test mainly for two health issues in poultry: Salmonella Pullorum, and Avian Influenza. Other states have the option to test for many more diseases.
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    NPIP participating flocks can legally ship poultry products (Eggs, chicks, live birds) state to state.

    In Colorado, the state veterinarian's office at Colorado State University has a team that does the testing. The testing isn't free, but is usually under $20, depending on the size of your flock and if you want more than the standard testing.

    They do have some rules and requests that make the process flow quickly.

    1. Contact they a couple of months in advance of when you would like the testing done. The NPIP testing team travels around the state, and aren't always readily available in your area. You will need to be flexible. Testing at my place only takes about an hour, from arrival to leaving, but they also tested 27 birds.

    2. Make sure that your chicken areas are clean and tidy. Besides doing the tests, they are also looking at the general health and condition of your flock for signs of disease, illness, and stress.

    3. Make sure ALL poultry is caged.This makes the whole process go much faster. If they have to go around and catch your birds, the whole experience is much more stressful for your birds and for the testers.

    4. You can watch but don't get in the way. These folks know what they are doing, and do it well. They test thousands of birds each year, and know how to handle each bird for the test. They know that for some, these chickens are pets, but they(the testers) for the most part think of the poultry as livestock. They don't hurt the birds, but they don't coddle them either.

    The Avian influenza test is done by swabbing the throat of each bird. The Salmonella Pullorum is accomplished by taking a blood sample from each bird.

    Here are a few photos of the process at my place.

    In this photo they are taking birds out of cages. I use some homemade cages as well as wire cages, which are in the background.
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    In this photo the swab is being put into the testing vial.
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    The blood sample is taken and mixed with the "medium" on the tray. The medium is purple, and when mixed with the blood and the color when mixed tells them if the bacteria are present or not.
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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013

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