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About collecting samples from chicken flocks
Under the Emergency Control Scheme for Managing Salmonella Enteritidis in Commercial Chicken Flocks (the Order), you need to collect samples of your chicken flocks and get them tested. Instructions for doing this are on this page and in the guidance document.
Guidance for breeders and hatcheries [PDF, 600 KB]
Animal Products Order: Emergency control scheme for commercial chicken flocks [PDF, 827 KB]
Other requirements of the Order
1. Buy sampling equipment
You will need to buy your own sampling equipment. Contact a recognised laboratory to get what you need.
Register of MPI-recognised laboratories [PDF, 126 KB]
Note that you are responsible for all costs associated with sampling and testing.
2. Comply with sampling requirements
Requirements for hatcheries are different to the requirements for breeders.
Sampling requirements for hatchers
Collect from these sample options:
- hatcher paper, or
- swabs of hatch trays, or
- chick fluff.
Sample every hatcher completing hatching on each hatch day.
For active hatcheries, sample every week. For idle hatcheries, sample every 2 weeks.
Where to sample in hatcheries
Always take drain samples and choose 5 other samples types from:
- egg-loading room tray swab
- transfer room swabs
- pull belt swabs
- dead chicks – if in hatcher tray, or from belt
- macerator swabs
- air handling units (swabs or dust)
- air transfer machines (swabs or dust)
- chick take-off and carousels (swabs – where more than 1 source of chicks are being mixed together)
If you have any questions, email email@example.com
Sampling requirements for breeders
The number and type of samples you are required to take depends on the size of your production areas:
- Up to 25 metres long: Use 1 pair of boot swabs and 1 dust swab or sample.
- Between 25 and 75 metres long: Use 2 pairs of boot swabs and 2 dust swabs or samples.
- More than 75 metres long: Use 4 pairs of boot swabs and 4 dust swabs or samples.
Test every flock, every 5 weeks.
Note that boot swabs are used to collect samples of bird waste.
3: Prepare staff and the sampling equipment
- Your staff should have all their equipment prepared before going into production areas to prevent contamination before, during, and after sampling.
- Your staff should be trained and equipped to sample safely. Consider providing dust masks, disposable gloves, and disposable coveralls.
- Staff should be trained on how to keep samples in the best condition for testing.
- Have your labels and record forms ready to go before you start.
- Prepare your boot swabs and dust swabs in advance so they are ready to hand off to the sampler.
- Follow the instructions provided with your sampling materials and ask your recognised laboratory if you have any questions.
Your laboratory can answer any questions you have about sampling materials, packaging, and getting your samples to them.
Your veterinarian or MPI can also help.
4: Plan sampling locations and methods
The samples collected should be:
- from random areas
- representative of the entire production area.
Where possible, perform dust sampling and boot swab collecting at the same time.
- If you have a multiple tier cage system, you only need to sample the bottom tier.
- You may wear the boot swab on a clean, gloved hand to sample bird droppings on a stationary belt.
- If your free-range areas are too small to walk around in with boot swabs, you may wear the boot swab on a clean, gloved hand to get samples.
Sample only the inside of the production area, even if you're sampling free-range birds that spend part of the day outside. Avoid sampling areas just inside doors and pop holes, as they may have been contaminated by material from outdoors.
Don't take samples:
- during or shortly after giving antimicrobials (antibiotics) that affect Salmonella. You may be subject to further regulatory action if evidence is found that antimicrobials have impacted your sampling
- while surfaces are still wet with products that may ruin your samples by affecting Salmonella.
Ask your veterinarian or laboratory if you have any questions.
5: Collect the samples
Walk around your production area with the boot swabs on, while collecting dust samples, to pick up as much material on your boot swabs as you can.
If your production areas are too small to walk through, or have tiered cages, use the boot swabs on your hands to pick up material instead. Be sure to use clean, gloved hands to remove the boot swabs to prevent contamination from other areas.
You may combine up to 8 boot swabs from a single production area into a bag to send to your laboratory.
Do not package your bird waste samples with dust samples.
Ways to collect dust samples
There are 2 ways to collect dust samples:
Option 1: Use firm, steady pressure to sweep your swab over surfaces to pick up dust. Coat both sides of each swab you use in dust. Avoid collecting dust from the feeding systems and focus on areas where bird dust collects, such as the outlet fans. You may combine up to 8 swabs from a single production area into a sample bag for sending to your laboratory.
Option 2: Use a clean, gloved hand to sweep dust into the sample bag from multiple spots within the production area until at least 25 grams is gathered.
6: Label your samples
Use this form to record the correct information for your samples:
Sample submission form for hatcheries [PDF, 246 KB]
7: Send the samples to your laboratory
Your samples should be packaged chilled and be delivered to your laboratory within 3 days from your sampling date. Do not freeze your samples. Remember that weekends might delay delivery and testing. You will have to take new samples if the conditions are not met.
Talk to your laboratory to plan your sampling events in advance. Ask them questions on how best to sample.