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Click HERE for updates and information on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Privatley owned poultry who show clinical signs of HPAI should be reported to the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 217-782-4944 or USDA APHIS Veterinary Services at 1-866-536-7593

Report sick or dead wild birds (5 or more) to your local IDNR District Wildlife Biologist or USDA Wildlife Services at 1-866-487-3297

Poultry In Illinois

Illinois defines poultry as: domesticated fowl, including chickens, turkeys, waterfowl, and game birds, except doves and pigeons, which are bred for the primary purpose of producing eggs or meat.  

Examples of waterfowl include domesticated fowl that normally swim such as ducks, geese and swans.  Examples of game birds include pheasants, pea fowl, partridge, quail, grouse, and guineas. Poultry may also include ostriches, emus, rheas, and cassowaries. 

National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP)

Illinois List of Certified Poultry Testers - For those producers who need to have their initial or annual Pullorum-Typhoid test completed, please click on the link above for a list of certified testers. If you are interested in becoming a certified poultry tester for Pullorum-Typhoid please call our office at 217-782-4944 or email us at

The National Poultry Improvement Plan was developed in the early 1930s by a State-Federal-Industry partnership to coordinate State programs aimed at eliminating Salmonella Pullorum  from commercial poultry.

Adult birds infected with S.Pullorum normally show no outward evidence of infection, but they are disease carriers for life. Hens can become infected by eating contaminated feed, infected eggs, or manure from other infected chickens. The disease can be eliminated from flocks by blood-testing adult breeding birds, utilizing effective biosecurity techniques and good sanitation.

Since its initial goal of eliminating Salmonella Pullorum, the Plan has also included the following egg-transmitted diseases to eliminate from commercial poultry flocks: Salmonella Gallinarium (Fowl Typhoid), Salmonella Enteritidis, Mycoplasmas (M.Gallisepticum, M.Synoviae and M.Meleagridis).

Avian Influenza (AI) is a worldwide viral infection of poultry. An influenza virus has the ability to mutate or change its genetic character. An infected bird may show a wide range of signs: from no apparent signs, mild to moderate illness, to death. Because of the different symptoms of influenza, three levels of host disease are described: nonpathogenic, low-pathogenicity, and high-pathogenicity avian influenza. Because of the ability of the AI virus to mutate, the NPIP has added AI to its list of diseases to keep out of commercial poultry flocks.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare serves as the Official State Agency (OSA) for the administration and oversight of the NPIP programs in Illinois.  These duties include interstate commerce, import/export, disease surveillance, testing, permitting and disease response planning activities.  

Why become a member of NPIP?

Participation in NPIP is voluntary, however, the Illinois Poultry Inspection Act (510 ILCS 85/2.1) states "No hatching eggs or poultry, except poultry for immediate slaughter, shall be bought, sold, or transported within, or imported into the State unless the hatchery or flock or origin is a participant in the National Poultry and Turkey Improvement Plans for the eradication of pullorum and fowl typhoid, or is following a program officially approved by the Department."

Being a member of NPIP allows greater ease in moving hatching eggs and live birds within the state, across state lines, and to other countries.  Most states will not allow poultry products unless they come from an NPIP participant.  Visit the USDA NPIP Page to learn more about program standards, classifications, and to find a list of participating by State. 

How to become a member of the NPIP

For initial enrollment in the plan, a certified poultry tester will test all of the adult birds  (4 months of age and older) in your flock for Salmonella Pullorum-Typhoid up to a maximum of 300 birds.  A Bureau of Animal Health, Animal and Animal Products Investigator will meet with you to complete a Hatchery/Flock Agreement.  After the flock agreement and testing have been completed and reviewed by the Bureau, a NPIP flock number will be issued for the flock.

Once in the program, the flock owner may move, show or sell birds for a year. To remain in the program requires the flock owner have a portion of their flock tested once a year for Pullorum-Typhoid. A list of private authorized poultry testers in Illinois is available for a flock owner to contact to do their annual flock test. A flock can be removed from the program for failure to have their flock retested in a timely manner.

To begin enrollment, please complete the fillable pdf NPIP  Enrollment Form ​and submit it to the Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare for processing. 

NPIP Biosecurity Requirements

There is a new NPIP Biosecurity Audit process being handled by the OSA for large poultry producers who are:

    • Commercial table egg laying premises with over 75,000 birds
    • Commercial broiler premises that raise more than 100,000 broilers annually
    • Commercial meat-type turkey premises that raise more than 30,000 turkeys annually
    • Raised for release upland game bird/waterfowl premises that raise more than 25,000 birds annually

These biosecurity measures are intended to be the basic management practices needed to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious disease. These premises must have a written biosecurity plan in place as of 9/20/2020 which has been audited and rated as satisfactory.  Producers without an audit will not be eligible for USDA AHPIS VS indemnity or compensation funds in the event HPAI is detected in poultry on any of their premises.  To find out more information call the Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare at (217) 782-4944 or email us at


Biosecurity is the process of protecting farms and livestock from infectious disease.  Producers should create and carry out biosecurity plans specific to their farm and livestock. Diseases can be introduced in many ways and a good plan addresses all known routes of disease transmission. Biosecurity plans will look different depending on the size/type of flock you maintain (small/exhibition vs. commercial).  

To learn more:

Health and Disease Information

​Avian Influenza

Ratities (ostriches, emus, kiwis, cassowaries and rhea) transported into Illinois must test negative for Avian Influenza within 10 days prior to entry into Illinois.

Avian Influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and wild birds (especially waterfowl).  The virus can be classified as low pathogenic (LPAI) and highly pathogenic (HPAI) forms based on the severity of illness they cause.  Chickens and turkeys with LPAI may not show any signs of illness or they may show mild signs such as sneezing, coughing and discharge from their eyes or beak.  HPAI virus strains are extremely infectious, often fatal to chickens and can spread rapidly from flock to flock.  

LPAstrains occur naturally in wild migratory waterfowl such as ducks and geese, and shorebirds without causing illness.  Symptoms of LPAI in domestic poultry include:

  • Minor sneezing or coughing
  • Minor discharge from eye or beak
  • Decreased food and water intake
  • Decreased egg production
  • Deformed eggs

If chickens and turkeys come into contact with waterfowl that carry LPAI, they can become infected.  Once infected, there is a chance that it can become more severe and change into HPAI.  Symptoms are then much more severe:

  • Severe lethargy
  • Severe difficulty breathing
  • Blood tinged discharge from eyes or beak
  • Unfeathered skin appearing blue on the head, comb and wattle (and snood in turkeys)
  • Swollen combs, wattle or shanks
  • Decreased food and water intake
  • Decreased egg production or deformed shell-less eggs
  • Sudden death

Avian Influenza usually cannot be transmitted to people, however rare cases have been reported.  Infected birds shed the virus in their secretions (saliva, mucous and feces).  Human infections may occur when they are exposed to enough virus, or are sick with a human influenza virus and are working with birds who are shedding LPIA/HPAI.  Virus is spread from sick birds to healthy birds by contact with the secretions of sick birds (feces and secretions from eyes/nose/mouth) or contaminated equipment and clothing. Ensure you are practicing good biosecurity when working with your flock.  

Disease images can be found on the Center for Food Security and Public Health Webpage about HPAI Avian influenza is a reportable disease. Immediately report animals with any of these signs to state or federal animal health officials.  For more information on LPAI/HPAI in poultry,  visit the USDA APHIS website on Avian Influenza. For more information on avian influenza in people, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health

Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND)

Formerly know as Exotic Newcastle Disease, Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) is a serious, highly contagious viral disease that can affect poultry and other birds. Chickens can get very sick and die suddenly while other domestic poultry such as turkeys can also become ill.  Waterfowl can naturally carry VND and usually don't show any signs of illness.  VND poses a rare risk to humans as it may cause eye inflammation and mild fever-like symptoms.  There is no food safety concern.  

Virus is spread from sick birds to healthy birds by contact with the secretions of sick birds (feces and secretions from eyes/nose/mouth) or contaminated equipment and clothing. Ensure you are practicing good biosecurity when working with your flock.  

Symptoms of VND include:

  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Discharge from eyes/beak
  • Decreased food/water intake
  • Decreased egg production
  • Swelling of the skin around the eyes and in the neck
  • Greenish, watery-diarrhea
  • Severe neurologic signs (tremors, drooping wings, twisting of the head and neck, circling or complete stiffness)
  • Sudden death and increased death loss

Disease images can be found on the Center for Food Security and Public Health Webpage about VND.  Virulent Newcastle Disease is a reportable disease.  Immediately report animals with any of these signs to state or federal animal health officials.  For more information on LPAI/HPAI in poultry,  visit the USDA APHIS website on Virulent Newcastle Disease

More Information:

See a list of all reportable diseases of livestock at the link above.

Foreign Animal Disease Response

Detection, containment and eradication of a foreign animal disease will rely upon effective state and federal coordination and collaboration with the industry stakeholders and producers in Illinois and across our state borders.  Early detection is critical to a successful response, therefore suspected foreign animal diseases should be immediately reported to your herd veterinarian, the Stave Veterinarian or the USDA Area Veterinarian In Charge. 

Monday through Friday (8am-4:30pm)

Illinois Department of Agriculture at (217) 784-4944 or the USDA APHIS VS Illinois District Office at (217) 547-6030.  

After Hours (24 hour answering service)

Illinois Emergency Management Agency at (800) 782-7860

The primary goal is to successfully eradicate the disease as quickly as possible.  Illinois continues to work with the industry, producers and partner agencies to develop plans to respond to foreign animal diseases. Each diseases has unique response critical activities which include:

  • Identification of infected and at risk premises through epidemiologic tracing and investigation
  • Containment of disease
  • Depopulation of infected herds
  • Environmentally sound disposal of carcasses and other infected products
  • Cleaning and disinfection using environmentally safe products
  • Timely dissemination of public information
  • Implementation of continuity of business plans (enhanced biosecurity, testing and permitted movement)
  • Surveillance

More Information:

Traceability and Animal Identification

  • Go to the page above to obtain the form to register your livestock premises or to find information on animal identification requirements