Maryland Poultry


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How To Get Started​

  • If you wish to own chickens on your property, you must first contact your county'​s planning and zoning office.
  • Should the planning office confirm that the property is approved for farming of chickens/backyard flocks, you must then register your flock with the state​​.
  • ​If at any point you wish to sell eggs, chicks, etc please see the "Selling Live Poultry or Hatching Eggs/ Selling Table Eggs" section. In addition, any premises operating with these intents must be registered in the NPIP program​​.

Report Sick Birds to 410-841-5810​

Know the signs of sick bids.  Signs of illness include: 

  • Swollen eyelids/sinuses/combs or wattles;
  • Purple or bluish discoloration of wattles and combs;​
  • ​respiratory snicking;
  • generally depressed birds;
  • unexplained mortality

Registerin​​g Your Flock - It's the law and it's free.

Any person with poultry in Maryland must register their birds. The critical information collected with the Maryland Poultry Premises Registration Form​​ provides animal health officials with necessary contact information in case of an animal health concern and helps identify at risk animals and premises. All information collected remains confidential. Once complete, you may return your poultry registration form to our office by mail​ or by emailing it to Poultry Registration is required by Agric. Art., Section § 3-804. Annotated Code of Maryland​.

Selling Live Poultry or Hatching Eggs
You must have a permit to sell live poultry or hatching eggs in Maryland. The only exceptions are poultry sold for immediate slaughter (COMAR or at an approved auction market. To obtain a permit, complete the  

Please note: there are testing requirements, sanitation requirements and record keeping requirements for selling live poultry or hatching eggs. The objective of this permit is to prevent the spread of poultry diseases. If you do not wish to obtain a permit to sell live poultry or hatching eggs you are free to sell poultry at any livestock auction in Maryland.

​Selling Table Eggs
The Maryland Egg law requires all eggs sold in the state meet standards for safety, quality, labeling and weight. Everyone selling eggs, even small backyard producers, must comply with it. The law is designed to ensure that Maryland consumers have wholesome, high quality eggs. The MDA Food Quality Assurance Program is responsible for enforcing this law. If you are selling eggs for human consumption, Maryland law requires a special permit. 

Please contact the MDA Food Quality Assurance Program at (410) 841-5769 or​  for more information.

​Guidelines for Table Egg Sales in Maryland

Poultry Swap Meet Policy​
Any poultry sold in Maryland must be healthy and free of disease. This includes poultry sold at swap meets. Swap meet poultry sellers are required to have poultry premises registration and to maintain records of all sales. View the Maryland Poultry Swap Meet Policy​ for more information. Contact MDA Animal Health: 410-841-5810 for any questions. 
National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP)
The National Poultry Improvement Plan is a cooperative Federal-State-Industry program through which new or existing diagnostic technology can be effectively applied to improve poultry and poultry products by controlling or eliminating specific poultry diseases. The Plan consists of programs that identify States, flocks, hatcheries, dealers, and slaughter plants that meet specific disease control standards specified in the Plan. Participants shall maintain records to demonstrate that they adhere to the disease control programs in which they participate. If you are interested in becoming NPIP certified, please contact,, or call 410-353-6771.

Authorized Poultry Testing Agents

In Maryland, Authorized Poultry Testing Agents are trained by state animal health officials to administer and record routine tests for pullorum-typhoid bacteria and to collect samples for avian influenza testing for the NPIP program and for exhibition purposes. They provide a critical function to assist MDA in disease surveillance in the state. Maryland residents over 18 years of age may apply to become Maryland Authorized Poultry Testing Agents upon successful completion of the Maryland Authorized Poultry Testing Agent Certification Class. Classes are offered once a year at our laboratories in Frederick and Salisbury. For more information including the date of an upcoming class contact:

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