Testing overview

The Animal Health Section of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets conducts free testing for avian influenza and Salmonella pullorum at Fairs, bird swaps and other poultry commingling events.  When arriving at the bird swap, it is the bird owner’s responsibility to check in at the Animal Health Section bird testing station and have all eligible birds tested before selling them at the event.  During check in, an Animal Health Section Specialist will provide you with a sales log form.  These log forms be accurately completed by the bird owner and returned to an Animal Health Specialist at the conclusion of the bird swap.

Salmonella pullorum testing

Salmonella testing is required for exhibition or sale of domestic fowl at any fair, show, meet or any event where such fowl are assembled. This testing entails drawing a small droplet of blood from the underside of the bird’s wing and using a stained antigen reagent that will react immediately if the Salmonella bacterium is present. Because animal traceability is an important component of this testing, all birds tested are provided with a metal leg band, which is numbered for tracking purposes and is linked to the owner of record.

Birds that are required to be tested include turkeys, chickens, guinea fowl, peacocks, and pheasants which are twenty (20) weeks of age and older. Waterfowl such as geese and ducks are not subject to the PT testing requirement.

Avian Influenza testing

Avian influenza (AI) is a contagious viral disease that affects wild and domestic birds.  AI infection in domestic chicken, duck and turkey flocks can result in high morbidity and mortality.  More information about this disease and the National AI Surveillance program. Testing for avian influenza entails swabbing the inside of the bird’s mouth and sending the swabs to a laboratory for analysis.

Additional resources

Information regarding the USDA National Poultry Improvement Plan.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publication of on the Pros and Cons of Poultry Swaps

Questions regarding the Animal Health Section's involvement in testing Vermont poultry should be directed to the Animal Health Office.