Small flock assistance programs

Health assistance and Salmonella testing

Chickens roaming on grass.

Big Red Biosecurity recognizes that veterinary care and testing costs can sometimes be greater than the value of a small flock. Two programs have been developed to provide small-flock owners options for affordable health care and testing. A small flock is defined as an operation with fewer than 1,000 birds and not affiliated with a large commercial production entity. Backyard producers, 4-H members, specialty egg producers, show bird breeders, and hobbyists typically fall under the small flock definition.

Small Flock Health Assistance Program

The Small Flock Health Assistance Program provides for diagnostic services at UNL’s Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center (NVDC). You or your veterinarian may submit poultry samples from your small flock for diagnostic services under the Small Flock Health Assistance Program by mentioning the program and/or directing the case to the attention of Dr. Don Reynolds at the time of submission. Your financial obligation will be limited to $25.00 for each case submitted.

View NVDC Submission Policies (PDF)

Small Flock Salmonella Testing Program

Salmonella is a type of bacterium that can infect poultry and be transmitted to people via healthy birds and through eggs. Salmonella infections can result in serious disease in people. For more information about Salmonella foodborne infections from eggs visit the Centers for Disease Control Salmonella and Eggs website, and for information about Salmonella infections from live poultry visit the Centers for Disease Control Salmonella outbreaks website.

What can be done to prevent this public health hazard?

Fortunately, Salmonella infections are treatable and preventable through good biosecurity practices. The first step is to have your birds tested to determine if any are infected.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has developed stringent control guidelines for egg producers that includes biosecurity and testing procedures. These guidelines exempt flocks with less than 3,000 birds. Our Small Flock  Salmonella Testing Program was developed to help safeguard small flocks from Salmonella infections, thus helping to provide safe poultry and safe poultry products such as eggs.

How the program works

If you elect to have your flock tested for Salmonella, a poultry health official from the Big Red Biosecurity Program will visit your facility and collect samples. These include environmental samples from your facility, samples from chickens and samples from eggs. The samples will be taken back to the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center for Salmonella testing, and the results will be reported back to you.

What happens to the Salmonella  testing results of your flock

All results are confidential and are reported back to you (the owner). If the results are negative you can elect to have us issue you a certificate indicating your flock was negative on the date tested. If the results are positive, we will work with you (if you request) to identify ways to make your flock Salmonella free.

Cost of testing

We charge a $25.00 administration fee for doing the testing.

How you can have your flock tested

Please fill out and submit the submission form to request testing for your flock through the Small Flock Salmonella Testing Program.

Go to submission form