Poultry farming

If you're a poultry farmer producing live birds for meat (except ostriches and emus), you must meet these legal requirements for food safety and animal health and welfare.


If you're a poultry farmer, you must comply with the following legislation, to help ensure you produce safe and suitable food:

  • Animal Products Act 1999
  • Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997.

You can read these Acts on the NZ Legislation website:

New Zealand Legislation

Key requirements for poultry farmers

As a poultry farmer, you must:

  • only use approved medicines on your birds
  • make sure the feed you use meets the requirements of the ACVM Act
  • meet the requirements of the Human Consumption Specifications and either provide supplier declarations with birds you provide for slaughter, or take part in a processor's supplier approval programme
  • comply with animal welfare requirements
  • operate under a Whole Flock Health Scheme (WFHS) and record how you manage the health of your birds.

Find out more about Whole Flock Health Schemes

Vaccinations and medicines

You must ensure any veterinary medicines you use – such as vaccines, antibiotics, anticoccidials, and anthelmintics – comply with the ACVM Act.

The Act controls the agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines used with animals and plants. It's a companion measure to other pieces of legislation, including the Animal Products Act.

Under the ACVM Act:

  • you must comply with conditions of registration for the use of each product – read the labels carefully and follow their directions for use
  • if the product is a restricted veterinary medicine, you must be authorised by a vet to use the product and follow the vet's instructions.

You should report any adverse event to the product registrant – see the product labels for contact details.

Read more about the requirements under the ACVM Act:

Agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines (ACVM)

Poultry feed

Poultry feed is classed as an agricultural compound under the ACVM Act, and all agricultural compounds must be authorised.

This feed is normally authorised without registration, but you must still:

  • comply with the minimum manufacturing requirements, following a documented system
  • ensure your poultry feed is fit for purpose
  • not misrepresent your product as anything other than an animal nutritional product.

For full conditions for exemption, see Schedule 4 of the ACVM Regulations:

Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2001

Find out more about poultry feed:

Pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements

The Human Consumption Specifications are made under the Animal Products Act and set out the actions you must take to ensure your poultry is safe for people to eat.

This includes making supplier declarations to processing premises — unless you're part of a supplier guarantee programme. The supplier declaration and guarantee programme are systems designed to provide evidence of the health status of birds and their suitability for processing.

See the Administration Consolidation (Version 3). Sections 40, 41, 70 and 71 are particularly relevant to the poultry industry, but you need to be familiar with the entire document:

Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Products Intended for Human Consumption [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Biosecurity manual

The Biosecurity manual for NZ meat chicken growers is jointly published by MPI and the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ). It sets out recommended minimum standards for chicken meat production to ensure that birds are healthy and safe to eat and can also be used as a guide by growers of other poultry types. 

The manual covers aspects of broiler production including shed construction, shed entry, water supply, vermin and wild bird control, harvest and cleanout, and visitor restrictions.

Read the manual to find out the recommended minimum standards for poultry production:

Biosecurity manual for NZ meat chicken growers – PIANZ

Animal welfare

MPI administers animal welfare requirements. Fully housed poultry must be kept, caught, and transported according to the Code of Welfare for meat chickens:

Code of Welfare: Meat Chickens

Learn about the general requirements for transporting animals:

Code of Welfare: Transport within New Zealand [PDF, 581 KB] 

Who to contact

If you have questions about poultry farming, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: