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4 chickens standing on dirt with an overlay stating ‘Backyard Biosecurity, it’s up to all of us’ and ‘Agriculture Victoria’
Edition 5: Poultry
In this edition:
Selling and sharing backyard eggs
Close up of 2 hands holding 6 eggs

If you are thinking about selling or giving away eggs, regardless of the size of your flock, check your legal obligations and assess the potential food safety risks against the egg standard.

As a poultry owner, you must comply with certain laws, standards and codes of practice. All egg producers must comply with Standard 4.2.5 — Primary Production and Processing Standard for Eggs and Egg Products by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

If you have than 50 egg-producing birds and sell or share your eggs, it is highly recommended that you obtain an egg stamp to enable better traceability in case of a food safety risk.

In Victoria, if you keep 50 or more poultry for any purpose, you must get a Property Identification Code (PIC) from Agriculture Victoria.  A PIC is used to register and provide producers and backyard poultry owners with their egg stamp code. A PIC enables Agriculture Victoria to contact and assist you in the event of a fire, flood, or animal disease outbreak, such as avian influenza or Salmonella of human health concern like Salmonella enteritidis. PICs and egg stamp codes are free and easy to obtain through Agriculture Victoria.

If you are selling or giving away eggs, use new cartons if possible. Be aware that there are legal restrictions to using corporate-branded cartons without permission.

For more information see:

Poultry health, diseases and prevention
Close up of 2 chickens

Maintaining good biosecurity practices will help to protect your birds, your family’s health, and Victoria’s agriculture industry. There are legal requirements under the Victorian domestic animals and animal welfare legislation that backyard poultry owners need to follow.

The most important welfare issues are:

  • Providing a proper and sufficient diet and ready access to water.
  • Providing a spacious, weatherproof coop, so the birds can roost away from weather extremes.
  • If predators such as foxes or feral cats are a risk in your area, providing a vermin-proof run for the birds.
  • Isolating any sick bird/s from the others and seeking veterinary advice in a timely manner.

For more information see:

Know what to look for

While outbreaks of avian influenza, Newcastle disease, Salmonella Enteritidis and other bird-related diseases are uncommon in Victoria, it is important to be aware of their signs. Early detection and reporting may help to prevent a large-scale outbreak.

Signs of a sick bird include:

  • ruffled feathers
  • unusual head or neck posture
  • inability to walk or stand
  • loss of appetite and reluctance to drink
  • droopy appearance
  • swollen head, wattles, or comb
  • sharp drop in egg production
  • breathing difficulties
  • diarrhoea
  • sudden death.

For more detailed information regarding specific poultry diseases visit:

What do I do if I suspect my birds are unwell?
Close up of 2 chickens eating

When your chickens are unwell, contact your local vet. When there are unexplained large or unusual numbers of dead or sick birds or very sharp drops in egg production, report with urgency to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888, or to the local Agriculture Victoria Animal Health Officer.

Keep an eye out for the next email where we’ll cover look at managing the health and welfare of sheep and goats.

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