Temporary website updates are in progress to fix technical issues. For assistance, visit our Contact Us page.

Canadian hatchery and supply flock testing standards

This document is incorporated by reference into the Health of Animals Regulations. Any changes to this document must be made in accordance with the CFIA Incorporation by Reference Policy.

On this page

Definitions

All-in/all-out
A production strategy whereby all birds are moved into and out of facilities and/or between production phases.
CFIA-approved laboratory
An establishment or vehicle that is approved under section 29 of the Health of Animals Act for the purpose of performing tests in relation to hatcheries and supply flocks.
Fluff
The chick down and dust produced in a hatcher during the hatching process.
Hatcher
Any equipment in which eggs hatch.
Primary breeding flock
A flock of chickens or turkeys comprising one or more generations of poultry that is maintained for the purpose of establishing, continuing or improving parent lines.

Part I – Canadian hatchery testing standards

The biological hazards that this part deals with are the bacteria and moulds that are required to be tested and monitored as part of determining the efficiency of cleaning and disinfection in the hatchery, and Salmonella species required to be monitored from day of hatch sampling.

The hatchery operator shall collect all samples and provide a copy of the test results to CFIA.

Environmental sampling and testing

Environmental testing results must demonstrate the effectiveness of the hatchery's cleaning and disinfection programs.

The hatchery must meet the following standards

  1. Environmental sampling and testing must be done at least every 6 months after cleaning and disinfection of surfaces
  2. The cleaning and disinfection must be sufficiently effective that the environmental testing results show that the average bacterial counts, the average coliform counts and the average mould counts are in the acceptable range as shown in the following tables

    Table 1 – Surface testing standard counts
    Rating interpretation Average bacterial counts Average bacterial counts Average bacterial counts Average coliform counts Average coliform counts Average coliform counts
    50 cm2Table Note a 20 cm2Table Note b 12 cm2Table Note c 50 cm2 20 cm2 12 cm2
    Acceptable 0 to16 0 to16 0 to10 0 to 5 0 to 5 0 to 3
    Follow-up required 17+ 17+ 11+ 6+ 6+ 4+
    Table 2 – Air testing standard counts
    Rating interpretation Average mould counts Average mould counts Average mould counts
    50 cm2Table Note d 20 cm2Table Note e 12 cm2Table Note f
    Acceptable 0 to 3 0 to 2 0 to1
    Follow-up required 4+ 3+ 2+
  3. If the counts are in the range for which the table indicates that follow-up is required, then the following action is necessary:
    • re-test all surfaces and rooms after re-cleaning and re-disinfection

Day of hatch sampling

Every sixth week while the hatchery is in operation, samples of fluff or chick box liners must be collected. All samples must be sent to a CFIA-approved laboratory and tested for all Salmonella. The initial sampling and testing for a new supply flock must be within the first 6 weeks of its egg setting.

The sampling schedule for hatcheries shall be as follows

  • hatch of less than 4 times a week
    • samples must be collected from all hatchers from which chicks are removed during the sixth week
  • hatch of four or more times a week
    • samples must be collected from all hatchers from which chicks are removed on two consecutive days during the sixth week

Embryonated eggs (balut) sampling

The frequency of sampling must be every sixth week while a hatchery is in operation. The first sampling from a new supply flock must be taken within the first 6 weeks of egg setting. Samples must be collected from all incubators from which balut are removed. At least 6 egg samples from each supply flock at the end of incubation must be submitted to a CFIA-approved laboratory, and tested for all Salmonella.

Part II – Canadian supply flock testing standards

The biological hazards that this part deals with are the Salmonella species. All samples must be collected by the farm operator and submitted to a CFIA-approved laboratory. All testing results must be available to CFIA, when requested.

Disease classifications

Disease classifications are based on a flock and not based on premises. Therefore, if the premises have several supply flocks, each one must be tested separately.

The classifications are the minimum requirements at which the supply flock must be tested.

  1. All primary breeding supply flocks must meet the testing requirements in the following classifications:
    • Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level I
    • Salmonella Enteritidis Clean
  2. All layer supply flocks, including dual-purpose supply flocks intended to supply commercial egg layers, must meet the testing requirements in the following classifications:
    • Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level II
    • Salmonella Enteritidis Clean
  3. All other supply flocks (broiler breeders, turkey breeders, dual-purpose breeders intended to supply chicks for meat production, breeders that supply for balut production, waterfowl breeders, and game bird breeders) must meet the testing requirements in the following classifications:
    • Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level II
    • Salmonella Enteritidis Monitored

Required sampling and testing

Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level I

All primary breeding supply flocks must meet the requirements in the Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level I. Screening for these diseases is done through serological testing.

The supply flock must meet the following testing requirements:

  • All primary breeding supply flocks must be tested on the day of hatch or on the day of farm placement
  • If total mortality rate is higher than 3% for chickens and 5% for turkeys and other birds within the first 14 days, the supply flock must be sampled and tested
    • A minimum of 20 freshly dead or frozen or cull birds must be submitted to a CFIA-approved laboratory to be cultured for Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum
  • A supply flock of four months of age or upon reaching sexual maturity, whichever comes first, must be blood-tested for Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum
    • This must be done before moving to the laying facility or start of egg production, whichever comes first
  • Test all birds in a supply flock with 315 birds or less, test 315 birds in a flock with 316 birds or more
    • Sampled birds must be individually identified by wing band, leg band, or similar devices
  • A supply flock that is retained for more than 12 months after the initial qualifying test must have serological re-testing performed on the 13th month or a minimum of 4 weeks after the induction of a moult, if done
  • Reactors on a serological test shall be submitted to a CFIA-approved laboratory for confirmatory Salmonella Pullorum–Salmonella Gallinarum culture
    • if there are more than 4 reactors in a flock, a minimum of 4 reactors shall be submitted
    • if the flock has 4 or fewer reactors, all of the reactors must be submitted
    • the reactors must be submitted within 10 days of the date of reception of an official blood test
  • Fluff or other day of hatch samples must be taken and submitted at 6-week intervals for Salmonella testing to a CFIA-approved laboratory
  • All barn and hatchery environmental samples must be tested with results being negative for Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum

If hatchery samples (such as chicks, chick box liners, fluff, balut) resulted in suspicious or positive results for Salmonella Pullorum or Salmonella Gallinarum: at least 315 birds in the receiving farm must be serologically tested. Reactor birds (as above) must be submitted to a CFIA-approved laboratory for Salmonella testing.

Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level II

All other supply flocks must meet the standards in the Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level II.

The supply flock must meet the following testing standards:

  • If it is uncertain as to whether the primary breeding supply flock tested negative for Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum, then a serological screening test must be performed on the supply flock as described above in Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level I
  • All supply flocks must be sampled at day of hatch or day of farm placement
  • Serological screening test must also be performed in a farm where there are different types of poultry flocks being reared including but not limited to different types of supply flocks, birds for meat production, and birds for commercial egg production
    • The procedure is the same as in the Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum Clean classification level I
  • If total mortality rate is higher than 3% for chickens and 5% for turkeys and other birds within the first 14 days, the supply flock must be sampled and tested for Salmonella
    • A minimum of 20 freshly dead or frozen or cull birds must be submitted to a CFIA-approved laboratory to be cultured for Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum
  • All barn and hatchery environmental samples must be tested with test results being negative for Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum

If hatchery samples (such as chicks, chick box liners, fluff, balut) resulted in suspicious or positive results for Salmonella Pullorum or Salmonella Gallinarum: at least 315 birds in the receiving farm must be serologically tested. Reactor birds (as above) must be submitted for Salmonella testing.

Salmonella Enteritidis Clean classification

All primary breeding supply flocks, layer supply flocks, and dual-purpose supply flocks whose progenies are intended to produce table eggs must meet the standards in this classification

The supply flock must meet the following testing standards:

  • If it cannot be verified that the supply flock originated from a source (elite/primary breeding supply flock) that is tested with and has results compatible with the Salmonella Enteritidis Clean classification, then fluff samples (or chick box liners) must be examined bacteriologically for all Salmonella at CFIA-approved laboratory and must be negative for Salmonella Enteritidis
  • Environmental samples must be collected from the supply flock. A minimum of one pair (or two pieces) of bootie (pooled samples) or drag swabs (pooled samples) and one dust swab in the barn for every 300-5000 birds. Increase the number of samples for every 5000-bird increments
  • Sampling at the barn must be performed at or above the following minimum frequency

For rearing/pullet/conditioning birds in an all-in/all-out barn

  • day of hatch: samples such as fluff or chick box liners must be submitted
  • perform environmental sampling at least two more times: For example: at a minimum of four weeks old then at least two weeks prior to moving to the laying barn and/or prior to egg production, whichever comes first

For laying birds in an all-in/all-out barn

  • perform environmental sampling during the lay period at a maximum interval of every four weeks starting within the first four weeks of production of settable eggs until the supply flock is depleted

For multi-age birds in a barn

  • day of hatch: samples such as fluff, chick box liners must be submitted
  • perform environmental sampling at a maximum of every 4 weeks
  • All barn and hatchery environmental samples must be tested for all Salmonella with test results being negative for Salmonella Enteritidis
Salmonella Enteritidis Monitored classification

All other supply flocks must meet the requirements in the Salmonella Enteritidis Monitored classification. These flocks include, but are not limited to, broiler breeders, turkey breeders, dual-purpose breeders whose progenies are intended to produce meat, waterfowl breeders, and game bird breeders. All supply flocks whose eggs are intended for the production of balut must also meet the requirements of this classification.

The supply flock must meet the following testing requirements:

  • If it cannot be verified that the supply flock originates from a primary breeding supply flock that is on the Salmonella Enteritidis Clean classification then samples such as fluff, or chick box liners must be collected at hatch and must be examined at a CFIA-approved laboratory and must be negative for Salmonella Enteritidis
  • Fluff or other day of hatch samples must be submitted at 6-week intervals and tested for Salmonella at a CFIA-approved laboratory
  • A minimum of 1 pair (or 2 pieces) of booties or drag swabs (pooled samples) and 1 dust swab in the barn for every 300 to 5000 birds must be submitted
    • Increase the number of samples for every 5000 bird increments
    • For birds in an all-in/all-out barn, samples must be submitted and tested at least two weeks prior to the supply flock depletion
    • For multi-age birds in a barn, samples must be submitted and tested at least twice a year
  • All barn environmental samples must be tested for all Salmonella