The National Poultry Improvement Plan was established in the early 1930's to provide a cooperative industry, state, and federal program through which new diagnostic technology can be effectively applied to the improvement of poultry and poultry products throughout the country.

The NPIP was initiated to help diminish the spread of Pullorum Disease, caused by Salmonella Pullorum which was rampant in the poultry industry and could cause upwards of 80% mortality in baby poultry. The program was later extended to include testing and monitoring for other poultry diseases. The program currently offers testing and monitoring for:

  • Salmonella Pullorum (Causative agent of Pullorum disease)
  • Salmonella Gallinarum (Causative agent of Fowl Typhoid)
  • Mycoplasma gallisepticum
  • Mycoplasma synoviae
  • Mycoplasma meleagridis (for turkeys)
  • Avian Influenza

Clearing Up Misconceptions

The term Pullorum-Typhoid is not the same disease as typhoid or typhoid fever that people can get. If you remember the story of "Typhoid Mary", Mary was infected with a particular type of Salmonella known commonly as Salmonella typhi. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Salmonella Typhi lives only in humans. Pullorum Disease is caused by Salmonella Pullorum and Fowl Typhoid is caused by Salmonella Gallinarum. The reason Salmonella Gallinarum was given the name Fowl Typhoid was because the disease causes typhoid signs (intestinal and internal organ infection) in fowl and bird species. Pullorum-Typhoid is only found naturally in birds.

The US Commercial Poultry Industry has done a great deal of work to decrease the occurrence of Pullorum-Typhoid by screening and removing birds that were positive for Pullorum-Typhoid. Regular screening is important to ensure that your birds are not carrying the disease. Many of the US states did work beginning in the 1930's to identify and remove birds that tested positive for this disease. By the 1980's there were a few states that could consistently get negative results from this screening and testing. Although we have reduced the number of US birds that test positive for this disease, there have been detections in the 1990's and in the 2010's. This disease can still be found worldwide today and re-introduction is concerning.

Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is a disease that can be transferred from infected parent birds to their offspring. This disease can cause respiratory issues and drops in egg production. Once birds are infected, they can become carriers. Some states do not allow for the importation of MG positive flocks or birds because MG is considered by many to be one of the most pathogenic mycoplasma of poultry. Although MG infections are commonly thought to only be a chicken disease, this is also a disease of turkeys and other avian species.

Who is involved?

The NPIP currently includes commercial poultry and hobbyist poultry facilities. Poultry that are able to join the program include chickens, turkeys, waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans), pheasants, quail, peafowl, guineas, chukars, grouse, ostrich, emu, rhea, and cassowary. Technical standards and management provisions of the NPIP have been developed as a joint effort by Industry Members, State governments, and Federal Officials. These criteria have established standards for the evaluation of poultry with respect to freedom from NPIP diseases.

Subparts and Maintenance

NPIP talks a lot about subparts. Subparts for NPIP are defined in title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations in parts 145 and 146. A Subpart is a way to distinguish what type of birds or business model you have.

Each subpart has written requirements for qualification (to be added to certain disease programs) and to remain as a participant in good standing, maintenance testing may be required.

How do I get my birds added?

The NPIP program relies on the use of State Officials to help administer the program. The state officials that are used to administer the program are referred to as the Official State Agents or OSA's. To have your birds added to the program, please reach out to the OSA for the state that your birds are located. The OSA will then talk with you about requirements of the program.

Finding your OSA

There is a tab on the left (if on a desktop computer) or under the menu bar at the top (if on a mobile device) entitled Official State Agencies.

What are the requirements?

Please, first, talk with your OSA.

Flocks being added to the program, at minimum, have to show freedom from Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum. This is the base test needed to be added to the program. Once freedom from these two are demonstrated, other disease classifications may be available.

All requirements for poultry used in exhibition, hobbyist, or for breeding purposes to sell can be found in Title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 145. The OSA will use this document to help administer the program for your birds. Poultry being raised for the purposes of slaughter and are being sent to a slaughter facility upon reaching market weight or those that have an egg packing facility will find provisions listed under Title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 146.

What about price?

The price varies per state, please talk with your OSA to determine price.

Benefits of participation

  • Know the health status of your flock
  • Buyers of your product can certify that you meet testing requirements
  • Can be used for interstate movement in some cases
    • Many states of destination require a Pullorum-Typhoid test and Avian Influenza monitoring
  • Depending upon subpart, you may be able to use current testing as proof of recent testing for shows, swaps or exhibition
  • Maintaining participation may allow for indemnity in the event of a confirmed outbreak

Thank you!

NPIP is made possible by the commitment and cooperation of Industry, State and Federal entities. The APHIS' mission to safeguard the health of our nation's agricultural resources, is being met through the participation of flocks in NPIP. Our many animal health experts work closely with other federal agencies, states, foreign governments, industry and professional groups, and others to enhance international trade and cooperation while preventing the introduction of dangerous and costly pests and diseases.

Please find your state and contact the Official State Agent for information on becoming an NPIP participant.