Steps to importing avian hatching eggs

To import poultry (chicken, duck, and turkey) hatching eggs into New Zealand you need to follow special procedures to help reduce any biosecurity risks. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps 

Expand All
What you need to know

An overview of importing avian hatching eggs from start to finish.

To successfully import hatching eggs from chickens, ducks, and turkeys into New Zealand you need to know about:

  • the relevant import health standard (IHS)
  • approved and specified countries and species
  • pre-export isolation
  • getting a veterinary certificate in the country of origin
  • getting approval to bring your eggs to an approved transitional facility
  • applying for an import permit 
  • notifying an official veterinarian 72 hours before the consignment arrives
  • meeting all post-arrival quarantine needs and IHS requirements
  • relevant fees and charges.

Approved countries and species

You can only import chicken, duck, and turkey hatching eggs and specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chicken eggs into New Zealand from approved and specified countries. The countries and species are listed in the IHS and include:

  • chicken hatching eggs from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands and the United States of America (USA)
  • turkey hatching eggs from Australia, Canada, and the UK
  • SPF chicken eggs from Australia
  • turkey hatching eggs and SPF chicken eggs from approved countries
  • SPF chicken eggs from Australia for laboratory use.

Check the eggs can be imported

The flock of birds that your eggs are from must be either hatched in or have been in the exporting country for at least 21 days, or as specified in the IHS. During this time they must have been kept in accordance with the requirements described in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) chapter on biosecurity procedures for poultry.

Related importing processes

Processes for importing consignments related to avian hatching eggs are elsewhere on the website. Follow these steps if you're importing:

Are you using wood packaging?

If your consignment is shipped to New Zealand on wooden pallets, or wood has been used to package any part of your consignment, you'll also need to comply with the requirements for importing wood packaging.


What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Comply with import health standard (IHS) requirements

The relevant import health standard (IHS) will tell what you need to do to successfully import your eggs into New Zealand.

Refer to the guidance document

The guidance document for Poultry Hatching Eggs and Specific-Pathogen-Free Chicken Eggs will help you import your poultry hatching eggs into New Zealand. Refer to it to make sure you understand all of the requirements of the IHS.

Download the guidance document [PDF, 380 KB]

The guidance document also has:

  • a list of countries approved for import of poultry hatching eggs to New Zealand
  • a veterinary certificate template for the competent authority veterinarian to complete for your eggs
  • a web link to the approved tests for the organisms identified in the IHS.

Plan the pre-export isolation of your eggs

As soon as you know the date of departure for your consignment, you should plan for their pre-export isolation.

The parent flock birds that the hatching eggs are derived from must be kept in an establishment that meets the IHS requirements, and these must be to the satisfaction of the official veterinarian who will certify the consignment of hatching eggs.

During the eggs' pre-export isolation, the following requirements must be met:

  • an official veterinarian from the country of export must inspect the parent flock birds within 28 days of their collection
  • the parent flock birds must be tested as specified in the IHS at a laboratory approved by the country of export, and the test results attached to the veterinary certificate
  • the eggs must be externally cleaned and sanitised. 

For the full requirements for eligibility for import, refer to the relevant IHS.

Book the eggs into an approved transitional facility

When your consignment arrives in New Zealand, you will need to transport the hatching eggs to an approved transitional facility.

You will get a letter from the facility inspector to confirm that the facility has undergone the necessary testing and inspections, and meets the Transitional Facilities for Live Poultry and Poultry Hatching Eggs – Facility Standard.

 At the transitional facility the consignment will be:

  • incubated and hatched
  • inspected regularly by the veterinary supervisor
  • tested for Newcastle Disease and Avian Influenza as specified in the IHS.

If the consignment meets all of the IHS requirements, it will be given biosecurity clearance and can be removed from the approved transitional facility.

Transitional Facilities for Live Poultry and Poultry Hatching Eggs – Facility Standard [PDF, 805 KB]

Apply to become an approved transitional facility, if necessary

If you can’t find a transitional facility to take your eggs, or if you prefer, you can apply to operate your own transitional facility.

All treatments at a transitional facility must be done by an approved treatment provider. You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliance or contamination.

Apply for an import permit

Once you have confirmed the availability of a transitional facility, you must apply for an import permit at least 30 days before you bring the eggs to New Zealand.

Download the permit to import poultry hatching eggs

Download the permit to import semen or embryos

Email your permit application to

You must supply the:

  • exporter's name and address 
  • breed and type of poultry
  • number of eggs being imported
  • arrival date
  • location of the nominated avian transitional facility in New Zealand
  • approval letter from the transitional facility inspector.

Permits are issued for single consignments only.

Notify an official veterinarian and MPI 72 hours before arrival

MPI and an official veterinarian in New Zealand must be notified about your import 72 hours before it arrives so that it can be inspected. You'll need to include the:

  • flight or ship number
  • date and time of arrival
  • consignee's name and contact details
  • species and breed
  • number of eggs in the consignment
  • country of origin
  • bill of lading (if known).

Along with your notification, send a copy of the export documents to

Prepare documentation for the hatching eggs

You'll need to have the following documents ready to accompany your hatching eggs when they arrive in New Zealand:

  • an original veterinary certificate, signed and stamped on every page by an official of the competent veterinary authority of the exporting country
  • a copy of the import permit
  • a summary of the laboratory tests completed according to the requirements of the veterinary certificate
  • copies of laboratory reports for all tests.

Prepare eggs for transport to New Zealand

Before transporting your hatching eggs to New Zealand you must:

  • pack the eggs and seal them into clean and disinfected crates, using an official seal attached by a government veterinary officer of the country of origin before the eggs leave
  • make sure the consignment can be clearly identified and matches the veterinary certification.

Comply with on-arrival inspections and transport requirements

A biosecurity officer will inspect your hatching eggs when they arrive in New Zealand. The eggs will then have to enter an approved avian transitional facility, where they will be allowed to hatch and the hatchlings monitored as required in the IHS.

If your consignment fails to meet any of the requirements in the IHS, then the hatching eggs will have to be either reshipped, destroyed, or retained in the transitional facility until the non-compliance can be resolved.

Transport requirements 

While transporting your hatching eggs in New Zealand you must make sure that the:

  • vehicles used to transport the hatching eggs to the transitional facility do not transport any other eggs or poultry
  • vehicles are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after the eggs are delivered.
Getting your import documents

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

You will be ready to import your hatching eggs into New Zealand when you have:

  • completed pre-export isolation and met the pre-export testing requirements specified in the IHS
  • an import permit
  • gathered all of your supporting documents, including the original signed and stamped veterinary certificate from the exporting country 
  • notified MPI and an official veterinarian of your eggs' arrival
  • made sure the approved transitional facility is ready to receive your consignment.

Who to contact

If you have  questions about importing avian hatching eggs, email

Last reviewed: