The advice sheets below have the latest information on animal health and welfare. If you need more advice call 01753 475111 (Enforcement & Regulatory option).
In the guide
This guidance is for England
Poultry are required to be handled and transported in a certain way. This includes safely carrying poultry, supporting them with both hands and ensuring that there is adequate space and ventilation.
When transporting poultry, only use vehicles that are fit for the purpose. Transport of poultry on journeys over 65km and under eight hours requires the transporter to be authorised (different rules apply for animals being transported for longer than eight hours). Drivers or attendants responsible for the transport of farmed poultry over 65km must hold a valid certificate of competence. Journeys over 50km require an animal transport certificate to be completed for each journey and kept for six months.
Three simple rules for better poultry handling:
1. Use both hands:
2. Enclose the wings and support all the bird's weight in your hands:
3. Ask for help with box lids and cage doors:
This is the correct way to handle poultry at a market. Further advice is available from the animal health inspector, if one is on duty at the market.
Poultry handlers must not:
When transporting poultry always remember that:
Some general information on catching, handling and transport can be found on page 20 of Defra's document: Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Meat chickens and breeding chickens (opens in a new window).
Anyone transporting poultry in connection with an economic activity must:
... on journeys over 65km that take less than eight hours:
... on journeys over 65km that take more than eight hours (defined as a long journey):
Note: a journey starts from a place where animals are first loaded and have been accommodated for at least 48 hours.
Additional information can be found in the Defra document Welfare of Animals During Transport: Advice for transporters of poultry (opens in a new window).
For further details of the legal requirements relating to the transportation of animals please contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on 03000 200 301.
Failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is a fine and two years' imprisonment.
Last reviewed / updated: December 2016
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.