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Why You Should Only Buy Baby Chicks from NPIP-Certified Hatcheries

Small baby chicks

Are you a poultry breeder or a backyard chicken farmer struggling with sick birds? Raising chickens isn’t always easy, especially when your chickens aren’t healthy when you receive them or develop diseases soon after. We understand the frustrations and challenges you may face when it comes to ensuring the health and quality of your flock. However, you can protect your investment in your flock and save yourself a lot of frustration by taking steps to get your chicks from the reputable sources: NPIP-certified hatcheries.

In this blog post, we will walk you through the ins and outs of NPIP certification, explaining its benefits and how it ensures the health and quality of your birds. From understanding the diseases covered to practical sanitation procedures, we’ve got you covered.

At Freedom Ranger Hatchery, we are an NPIP-certified bird farm. Our team is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities and achieve the peace of mind you deserve. Whether you have questions about the process, requirements, or how Being on an NPIP-certified hatcheries list can enhance your flock’s well-being, we’re here to help.

So, What Is the NPIP?

The National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) works at regulating and safeguarding the health of poultry populations. It is a voluntary program overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and managed by each state. Its primary aim is to protect commercial poultry and backyard flocks from infectious diseases by establishing standardized testing procedures and biosecurity protocols.

The NPIP was first established in 1935 to eliminate Pullorum Disease caused by Salmonella Pullorum. This disease devastated the poultry industry in the late 1920s, causing an 80% mortality rate among baby poultry.

The program was later extended and refined to include testing and monitoring for other vertically transmitted chicken diseases (diseases that can be passed from parent to egg), including:

Monitoring and testing for Avian Influenza was added in 2006 when the poultry industry began exporting large quantities of poultry. The NPIP currently includes standards for commercial poultry, turkeys, waterfowl, exhibition poultry, backyard poultry, and game birds.

Chickens free-ranging in a field.

What Does It Mean If a Hatchery Has an NPIP Certification?

When a hatchery has an NPIP certification, it signifies that they have met stringent standards and requirements set by the program. These certifications demonstrate that the hatchery takes proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of its birds.

By obtaining an NPIP-certified bird farm, hatcheries commit to regular testing, comprehensive biosecurity measures, and thorough inspections. This certification showcases their dedication to maintaining healthy breeding flocks and assures customers of the quality and safety of the birds they produce.

What Are Some Examples of the NPIP Standards?

NPIP-certified hatcheries are required to adhere to a set of established standards that ensure the birds they breed or sell are free from infection of the diseases described above. These standards include blood testing for their flocks, adherence to bacteriological examination procedures, sanitation procedures, molecular examination procedures, and biosecurity principles. They also need to follow comprehensive biosecurity measures to prevent disease outbreaks and reduce the chances of cross-contamination. Furthermore, facilities and equipment undergo regular inspections to ensure proper sanitation and maintenance.

The certification application process involves thorough inspections by trained professionals who assess compliance with NPIP standards. While the certification process can be challenging, poultry farms must achieve NPIP certification as it demonstrates their commitment to responsible practices and sets them apart as trusted providers of healthy poultry.

For a complete explanation of NPIP standards, download the National Poultry Improvement Plan Program Standards PDF – Standards A-E and Standards F-Compartmentalization.

How Does a Hatchery Become an NPIP-Certified Hatchery?

To become an NPIP-certified hatchery, one must comply with specific requirements and protocols outlined by the NPIP.

Testing Procedures

Testing procedures play a vital role in the certification process. Hatcheries need to actively participate in testing their birds for various diseases covered by the NPIP program. These tests help identify and address potential health issues promptly, ensuring the continued health and productivity of the flock.

While testing procedures vary from state to state, blood testing for a representative sample of the flock (usually 300 birds) is required before receiving certification. If a hatchery has less than 300 birds, all birds will typically be tested. Hatcheries must re-test their flock annually to maintain NPIP certification.


NPIP-certified hatcheries are required to maintain standards for biosecurity in order to ensure the continued health of their flock. Hatcheries must implement stringent biosecurity measures to minimize the risk of disease transmission. These measures include limiting visitor access, practicing proper handwashing and disinfection protocols, and regularly sanitizing facilities and equipment. Here are some ways to maintain good biosecurity:

  • Traffic Control
    NPIP-certified hatcheries follow specific procedures to control traffic (people, other animals, vehicles, and equipment) to reduce the risk of introducing diseases to their flock.
  • Pest Control
    Rodents, insects, and even other birds can introduce diseases to the flock, so NPIP-certified hatcheries must have a plan to avoid attracting pests and a maintenance program to prevent infestations.
  • Reporting
    NPIP hatcheries are required to report unusual illnesses or elevated mortality rates within their flocks.

Facilities / Equipment Inspections

Most states require hatcheries to undergo a complete facilities and equipment inspection before awarding NPIP-certified chickens. Trained professionals assess the hatchery’s premises, including coops, incubators, and other equipment, to ensure they meet the required sanitation standards. Regular inspections help maintain cleanliness and prevent contamination, further enhancing the overall health and well-being of the breeding flock.

By following these testing procedures, implementing robust biosecurity measures, and passing facility and equipment inspections, hatcheries and farms may be able to achieve NPIP certification (requirements vary on a state by state basis. Check with your Office State Agency for clear guidelines) and establish themselves as trusted sources of healthy poultry.

Why Is it Beneficial for Farms and Hatcheries to Achieve NPIP Certification?

Chicken farmers analyzing their NPIP requirements.

Obtaining NPIP-certified chickens offers numerous benefits for hatcheries and farms. First, it enhances their reputation and credibility within the industry. NPIP-certified organizations are recognized for their commitment to maintaining the health and quality of their birds. This reputation leads to increased customer trust and demand for their products, ultimately benefiting their business.

Moreover, NPIP certification ensures that hatcheries have access to the most up-to-date information and practices related to disease prevention and control. By participating in the NPIP program, hatcheries stay informed about new technologies and advancements in the field, allowing them to continuously improve their operations and provide the best care for their flocks.

NPIP certification enables hatcheries to contribute to the overall biosecurity of the poultry industry. By implementing rigorous testing procedures, biosecurity measures, and facility/equipment inspections, NPIP-certified hatcheries actively prevent the spread of diseases, safeguarding not only their own flocks but also neighboring farms and communities.

Does an NPIP Certification Benefit Consumers?

Absolutely! NPIP certification is highly beneficial for consumers as it ensures the quality and safety of their poultry products. When consumers choose poultry from NPIP-certified hatcheries, they can have peace of mind knowing that the birds have undergone extensive testing for diseases covered by the program. This certification also significantly reduces the risk of introducing infectious diseases into their own flocks or backyard poultry setups.

NPIP certifications also play a vital role in preventing the spread of diseases across the poultry industry. Through rigorous testing protocols and comprehensive biosecurity measures, NPIP-certified hatcheries contribute to the overall health and well-being of the entire poultry community. Consumers can feel confident that when they purchase from an NPIP-certified hatchery, they support responsible and ethical practices prioritizing animal welfare and disease prevention.

Buying Baby Chicks from an NPIP-Certified Hatchery

Whether you’re buying chicks for the first time or adding to your growing flock, buying chicks from an NPIP-certified hatchery can offer some peace of mind. However, it is important to understand that NPIP certification alone will not guarantee healthy chicks. The required testing procedures only cover a handful of diseases that can affect your flock. NPIP certification is simply one standard to consider when searching for reputable hatcheries.

Whether you’re just getting started or are ready to buy additional chicks to expand your flock, we maintain our own breeding stock of Freedom Ranger and GMO-free parent chickens. All of our hatcheries are NPIP-certified, and we’re dedicated to traditional, sustainable, and environmentally friendly farming methods that produce high-quality chickens for our customers. We ship our chickens all across the country from our family farms in Lancaster County, PA. Check out our selection of broilers, egg layers, and dual-purpose breeds to get started!

Trust Our NPIP-Certified Hatcheries When Buying Baby Chicks!

In the world of poultry farming, ensuring the health and safety of your flock is paramount. But navigating the complexities of NPIP certification for hatcheries can be daunting. We understand the challenges you face, which is why Freedom Ranger Hatchery is here to provide you with a solution.

By obtaining NPIP certification, we are on the trusted NPIP-certified hatcheries list that prioritize the health and well-being of their birds. Our rigorous testing procedures, comprehensive biosecurity measures, and facility inspections ensure that our birds meet the highest quality and safety standards.

With NPIP certification, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are purchasing from a reputable source. Our commitment to responsible practices and disease prevention sets us apart as an industry leader in providing healthy poultry.

Choose Freedom Ranger Hatchery and join the community of satisfied customers who trust our NPIP-certified hatcheries. Experience the difference that strict standards, comprehensive testing, and unwavering dedication can make for your flock’s health and success.

Make a choice that will elevate your poultry farming journey. Contact us now and unlock the advantages of working with an NPIP-certified hatchery. Your birds deserve the best, and we’re here to provide it.

Remember, at Freedom Ranger Hatchery, your flock’s health and your satisfaction are our top priorities.