National Poultry Improvement Plan
The National Poultry Improvement Plan has been done on a voluntary state by state basis since the early 1930's. This is a voluntary effort where individuals with a responsibility for disease prevention has their flock tested for pullorum-typhoid disease, which is an egg carrying bacteria.
This is a host adaptive disease affecting internal organs and is transmitted through the egg. Infected poultry might have chalk-white excretions, show drowsiness, a lack of appetite, and/or distorted body.
This is the tester from the Ohio Poultry Association in Reynoldsburg, Ohio who drove to our farm and tested my flock. She dressed in disposable coveralls and boots at her vehicle after arriving, a safety precaution so as not to carry disease to my flock nor possible problems from my flock to her vehicle.
There are 4 kinds of tests, Rapid Whole Blood Plate Test is most commonly used by testers. The other 3 tests are performed in authorized laboratories only. These include Tube Agglutination Test, Micro Agglutination Test, and Rapid Serum Plate Test.
In the Rapid Whole Blood Plate Test, antibodies agglutinate with serum and the test shows a reactor. Rapid whole blood plate test equipment includes: a bottle of properly stored antigen, clean coveralls, head gear, rubber boots, pail containing disinfectant, portable table, testing plate, light box, bleeding needle and blood loop, a container of water, and bands for positive birds.
The bottle of antigen is kept at room temperature prior to testing after having been stored at 45 degrees. A disinfectant is used to scrub the bird's elbow area (under the wing).The bird is punctured with a 20% wire and blood is collected in a 3/16"diameter loop. The blood is smeared on a drop of antigen to make a smear the size of a quarter. Clumps will form (agglutination) after 15 seconds- 2 minutes if a bird shows a reaction. Samples or the bird itself can be sent to the lab for bacteriological examinations.
If a backyard breeder were to sell an infected egg(s) to a an individual or hatchery, that person risks losing an entire flock. It is everyone's responsibility to do what they can to prevent pullorum/typhoid.
Care should be taken to meet visitors who own poultry at their vehicles, and to provide them with disposable boots if you have plans to take them either to your coop or to an area where your birds range. NIP flock owners should not purchase birds or eggs that are not from NIP certified flocks. After visits to poultry swap meets or auctions, owners of NPIP flocks should not wear those same shoes to tend to their own flocks, or should wear disposable boots when visiting those places and/or other flocks. These preventative measures will not only help to stop the spread of typhoid/pullorum but also other various poultry diseases.
My entire flock was confined when
the tester arrived. As each bird was tested, it was released to an
outdoor poultry yard. My flock tested clean - no reactors, and I was NPIP
After a few days I received my NPIP certification number and pad (triplicate copies) of signed certificates to ship with eggs or birds that leave our farm, a copy for my own records,and a copy to be sent to the Ohio Poultry Association. There was a $20 fee involved. Participating farms and hatcheries are listed in the NPIP annual publication.
Each state may do things a big differently, and not all states are participating in the National Poultry Improvement Plan. Some states require additional certifications to be able to ship poultry or eggs across their borders. Some states require registration in addition to special certifications to be able to ship poultry or eggs into their state. Here is a link to a site that provides more information and e-mail addresses or phone numbers for contacts within your own state. If you reach a dead end through this list, contact your local County Extension Agency and ask them who to contact to become a member of this national program.
In 2005 I went through the necessary training and requirements and became a certified NPIP tester for the state of Ohio.