On this page
- About collecting samples from chicken flocks
- Buy sampling equipment
- Comply with sampling requirements
- Determine how many samples you need
- Prepare staff and the sampling equipment
- Plan sampling locations and methods
- Collect the samples
- Label your samples
- Send the samples to your laboratory
- What to do if you get a positive test result
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 rearer and layer chicken farmers [PDF, 671 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
Take boot swabs and dust samples from your shed or production area when the flock is between:
- 2 and 4 weeks of age
- 14 and 18 weeks of age.
Aim to have sampling done and test results returned before you move your birds.
Take samples from each layer shed or production area at:
- at the onset of lay (about 22 to 24 weeks of age)
- mid-lay (about 45 weeks of age)
- end of lay (within 8 weeks of scheduled depopulation).
For multi-age sheds, ensure sampling for each introduced new flock is carried out at the onset of lay and then the whole shed or production area is sampled at least every 20 weeks.
If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Determine how many samples you need
The number and type of samples you are required to take depends on the size and type of your sheds or production areas.
For free range housing and barns and aviaries:
- 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.
For conventional or colony production areas take:
- 1 manure belt boot swab per row or from the full run of the cross-conveyor on multi-tier rows if present (the latter preferred).
Note: Only sample above the bottom tier conveyor belt if it is safe to do so.
You also need to take:
- 1 dust swab or sample for areas up to 25m long
- 2 dust swabs or samples for areas between 25m and 75m long
- 4 dust swabs or samples for areas more than 75m long.
Boot swabs are used to collect samples of bird waste.
4: Prepare staff and the sampling equipment
- Your staff should have all their equipment prepared before going into the production area 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.
5: 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 production 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 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.
6: 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.
7: Label your samples
Use this form to record the correct information for your samples:
Sample submission form [PDF, 237 KB]
8: 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.