For information                                                              ACFEH Paper 60

6 December 2005



Advisory Council on Food and Environmental Hygiene



Regulation of Backyard Poultry in Hong Kong




               This paper briefs Members on the Government��s plan to regulate backyard poultry in Hong Kong with a view to reducing the risk of an avian influenza outbreak.





2.            Under the Public Health (Animals and Birds)(Licensing of Livestock Keeping) Regulation (Cap. 139L), any person who keeps more than 20 heads of poultry is required by law to possess a valid Livestock Keeping Licence (LKL) issued by the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation (DAFC).  DAFC imposes in the LKL conditions a set of biosecurity requirements (see Annex) with which a licencee must comply or his/her licence may be revoked.  For those keeping less than 21 heads of poultry, an exemption from such licence requirement is granted under the Waste Disposal Ordinance, Cap. 354.


3.            Backyard poultry in Hong Kong include the following categories:


(a)              Food or layer poultry including chickens, ducks, geese, quail and pigeons in the rural communities in the New Territories;


(b)             Pet poultry in individual household in both rural and urban areas; and


(c)              Racing pigeons in both rural and urban areas.


4.            A Household Thematic Survey conducted by the Census & Statistics Department in early 2005 provided a rough estimate of the backyard poultry population in Hong Kong.  It is estimated that there are 1,850 households keeping some 3,600 ducks and 9,200 chickens.  The number of food pigeons or racing pigeons is estimated at a few thousand.  Under the existing regulatory framework, the biosecurity requirements set out at Annex do not cover backyard farms.  As such, the risk of backyard poultry contracting avian influenza viruses is higher than those kept by commercial farms.  This poses a risk to the public health, mainly backyard chicken farmers in Hong Kong.


Key Factors of backyard poultry in Hong Kong


5.         Backyard poultry tend to be located in rural areas of the New Territories.  Their production is not commercial and therefore it is highly unlikely that the general public would ever come into contact with these poultry.  Furthermore, these poultry would not be eligible to be sold in retail markets as they are unable to fulfill the Administration��s health requirements.


6.                               However, backyard poultry are generally housed in very basic facilities with a distinct lack of biosecurity features for disease prevention or spreading.  For example, licensed chicken farms are required to be bird-proofed to prevent wild birds from entering chicken production areas.  This bird-proofing is rarely present in backyard flocks and there is therefore a risk that backyard poultry can become infected via this route.  In addition, all chickens (except sentinels) in the licensed farms in Hong Kong are vaccinated against HPAI to help protect the flocks from infection of avian influenza.  Although free vaccination against HPAI for backyard chicken is provided by AFCD since November 2005, such vaccination is not a mandatory requiremen.  As at 26 November 2005, only about 1,200 birds of 110 backyard farms have been vaccinated.


Way Forward


7.                               To eradicate the risk posed by backyard poultry, it is recommended to bring backyard farms under the existing regulatory regime for commercial farms by removing their exemption for obtaining licence from DAFC.  However, in view of the difference in the nature of backyard and commercial farming, DAFC may consider modifying the biosecurity requirements applying to commercial farms to suit the need for regulating backyard farms.


8.          Members are invited to note and comment on the proposal in paragraph 7 above.



Health, Welfare and Food Bureau

December 2005





Biosecurity Requirements for Individual Chicken Farms


�A���s�� LKXXX         YYY����



Based on the biosecurity questionnaire result for the captioned farm, the following individual biosecurity requirements are enacted. The requirements form part of the licence conditions.

�Ͳ��� (Production Area(s))

1.          �����i�����|�ӥͲ��ϡA�Y�p���Ϥ��аO�����⪺�ϰ�C�ðѦҪ��Ϥ��аO�������⪺�۹��m�A�H�o�����ɩM�a���i�ܵP���覡�N�Ͳ��ϻP�D�Ͳ��ϩ�����O�C

Four production area(s) shaded in yellow on the attached map can be designated on this farm. The demarcations between the production area(s) and the non-production area(s), marked in pink on the map, must be clearly visible to all people on farm through the use of painted lines on the ground and notice signs.

2.          �c�i���r�L�����]�������}�iŢ��(�H�U²������)���C�@�X�J�f�C�䤺���r�����C���s�C

Footbaths, filled daily with fresh appropriate disinfectant, must be installed at every chicken shed entrance.

3.          �Ͳ��Ϥ����]���~��L���M��Ψ�C

Proper hand-washing facilities (basin, soap, towel�Ketc) must be available at every shed entrance.

4.          ���٤����o�d�����A��B�����M�U���C

No farm equipment, sundries or garbage should be left inside the sheds.

5.          �������o��Ͳ������٥H�~���a��}�i�C

Chickens must not be housed anywhere else other than inside the sheds in the production area(s).

�A���H�y�ި� (Human Movement Control)

6.          ���H�h�������r�c�i��A�~�i�i�J�A���C

Footwear must be properly disinfected before entering the farm.

7.          ���H�h���i�J�Ͳ��ϫe�A�����ƥ��~���C�b�Ͳ��Ϥ��A������۳����M�Ϊ����b�S�w�u�@�A�ΰt���M��L�l����M�C

Everyone should have a shower, put on designated protective clothing and wear gloves before entering the production area(s)

8.          �A�ͤγ����u�@�H������IJ�A���H�~����L�V���A��餣�o�i�J�Ͳ��ϡC

Staff members who have been in contact with any birds outside the farm must not enter the production area(s) on the same day.

9.          �V�b�o�������ӤH������i�J�Ͳ��ϡC�ö��b���w�a�I�����T�ơC

Workers of the livestock waste collection service contractor must not enter the production area(s). Waste must be collected at a designated area near the farm gate away from the production area(s).

10.     �X�ȩιB��u�H�D���n�ɤ��o�i�J�Ͳ��ϡC�Ҧ��i�J�Ͳ��Ϫ��H��������ۥ��M���O�@�ʦ�ˡC

Tradespersons and visitors must not be allowed to enter the production area(s) unless it is totally necessary and they must wear full protective clothing.

11.     �����O���Ҧ��X�ȤιB��u�H���m�W�B��X�ت��B�p���q�ܡB��X����Ψ��P���X�C

The name, telephone number and vehicle registration number of all tradespersons and visitors and their date and reason(s) of visit must be properly recorded.

�����ި� (Vehicle Control)

12.     �i�J�A�������������g�L���r�C

Vehicles entering the farm must have their wheels and any contaminated areas thoroughly disinfected.

13.     �}�ƹB��f�ܫ�A�}�ƹB�騮�g�L���A���d��a���A���n���r�C

After feed delivery to the storage shed, the pathway that is adjacent to the production area(s) must be disinfected after the delivery of feed.

14.     �V�b�o�������Ө������o�i�J�A���d��C

Vehicles of the livestock waste collection service contractor must not enter the farm premises.

�i�X�A��������ި� (Control of Movement of Materials)

15.     �u�i�ϥΤw�g�����M�~���r�L���B�齦Ţ�C

Only properly cleaned and disinfected plastic transport cages shall be used.

16.     �A�����o�s�d�κަ�����ݩ�a�V��o�ӷ|���B�齦Ţ(�]�A�Ц��u���A�B�v�r�˪��B�齦Ţ)�ΥΥH�B�������ܪ��F�W�{�ɮa�V��o�������B��Ţ�C

No transport cages (including cages with a �����A�B�� mark) owned by the poultry wholesalers associations or used for transporting chickens to the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market should be kept on the farm premises.

17.     �A���u��ޤJ�Ӧۺ��A�۵M�@�z�p�{�i��Ƴ��������C

Chicks must be introduced only from AFCD recognised hatcheries.

18.      �Ҧ��i�X�A���������M�J�������P���A�۵M�@�z�pñ�o���Ī����ѡC�ӧ��ѥ����O�d�H�Ѻ��A�۵M�@�z�p�ˬd�A���ܸӧ������M�J���A�s�b��A�����C�b�B��A���᪺24�p�ɤ��A�V���A�۵M�@�z�p�ӳ��B�e����B�ƶq�B���������C

Chickens and eggs moved in or out of the farm must be accompanied by a valid permit issued by AFCD. This permit must be kept for AFCD inspection until the relevant batch of chickens and eggs are no longer present on the farm. The licensee must report the movement date, number and age of the introduced chickens to AFCD within 24 hours after their arrival.

19.     ���Ჰ�������ìV����A�b�B�z�L�{���A����������M�C��M�Ϋᥲ���M�~���r�C

Boxes used for day-old chickens shall be seen as potential sources of contamination. Protective gloves, properly cleaned and disinfected after each use, must be worn while handling these boxes.

20.     �b�����T�ƫ�A���s�����c�����������M��B���r�Ωٲb��A�~�i�e�^�������s�ϥΡC

After each waste collection, the outer surface of all faecal waste bins from Way Lung Co. shall be properly disinfected, cleaned and wiped dry before next use.

21.     ���~�Ӫ���A�i�J�A���e�����������r�C

Off-farm materials must be thoroughly disinfected before entering the farm.

�ʪ��θV�����w(Control of Wild Birds and Other Animals)

22.     ���ߤ��o�i�J���١C

Dogs and cats are not allowed to enter the sheds.

23.     �������榳�Ī����η����p���C

Effective pest control shall be conducted routinely as part of the farm management system.

24.     ���٥��ݦ������]�I�C�Y�ϥΨ�����A�������i�j�󰪫�2�T�����3�T�C

All the sheds must have bird-proof facilities. If bird-proof nets are used, the mesh holes shall not be more than 2 inches in height and 3 inches in width.

�A���޲z (Farm Management)

25.     �A���H���u�i�b�Q�e�����S�w���٩ιA�٤��u�@�C

Farm staff shall work only in their designated sheds or other work area(s).

26.     �}�iŢ��M�}���V���������ݩζ콦�y���C

All chicken cages and feed troughs must be made of metal or plastic.

27.     ���P�妸�����������M�����j�ܤ֤��`�C�C�������H�ζi�ΥX�覡�޲z�C

Different batches of chickens must be housed not less than 6 feet apart. The management of each batch of chickens must be on an all-in, all-out basis.

28.     �����E�X��A���٥������r�ΪŸm�C�ѡA�~�i���s�ϥΡC

Any vacated sheds must be thoroughly disinfected and left unoccupied for at least 7 days prior to introducing new batches of chickens.

29.     �Ҧ����٥����Ʀs�����i�X�B���`�B���̤Υ��İO���C

An accurate, up-to-date record must be kept for any chicken movements, vaccinations, medications and mortalities on a shed basis.

30.     �C��X�⪺�������ݦs���J�Ӻ�T���P��O���C�ӰO�����O�d�b�A���ܤ�12�Ӥ�,�æb���p�H���n�D�ɴ��Ѭd�\�C

A detailed, accurate sale record must be kept for at least 12 months for each batch of chickens.  This record must be made available to the Department at any time on request.

31.     �b�A�����ۦ��������A������T�O���C����������Ƥ���B�ƥءB��Ʋv�C�æb24�p�ɤ��q�����A�۵M�@�z�p�C

If there are chicks hatched inside the farm, the licensee must keep a detailed, accurate hatching record, including the information on hatching date, number of hatched chicks and the hatching rate. The relevant information should be reported to AFCD immediately.

32.     ������e�A�����x�W���r���A�å]�ʩ��h���U���C

Any dead chickens must be sprinkled with disinfectant powder and completely sealed in plastic bags before disposal.

33.     ���H�h�Y���i�J���馬�����A��餣�㭫�^�A���Ͳ��ϡC

Any persons having entered the carcass collection area must not return to the production area(s) on the same day.

34.     ����`�v�W�X�U�z����ɡA�����ߨ�q�����p�C���g���A�۵M�@�z�p���U�A���o������C

��         �b24�p�ɤ��A�P��W�L30�����������A��1%�H�W���������`

��         �b7�Ѥ��A�P��W�L30�����������A��4%�H�W���������`

��         �b7�Ѥ��A�P�庡30���֩ΥH�U�������A��15%�H�W���������`

When mortality rates exceed the levels shown below, the licensee must notify the AFCD immediately, and the carcasses must not be disposed without the permission from the AFCD.

��              Within a 24 hours period, there is a mortality rate of more than 1% of chickens aged more than 30 days in any given batch.

��              Within a 7 days period, there is a mortality rate of more than 4% of chickens aged more than 30 days in any given batch.

��              Within a 7 days period, there is a mortality rate of more than 15% of chickens aged at or less than 30 days in any given batch.

35.     ���t�Ӫ��ϥο@�׫�ij�A�C���s���r���C

The licensee must ensure the chosen disinfectants used on the farm are effectively applied according to the recommendations given by the manufacturer(s) and refreshed daily.

36.     ���f�B��c�Ψ�L�x�s�������Τ�����ץ����\�n�C

All water tanks, wells and containers for storing chickens�� drinking water must be properly covered.

37.     ���P�H���d��T�O�A�����H����u���ͪ��O�w���U���W���C

It is the licensee��s responsibility to ensure that all on-farm personnel, including workers, residents and visitors comply with all the listed individual biosecurity requirements.

�ЮJ�ή�y�ި� (Dust and Aerosol Control)

38.     �b�����s�@�ɡA�]�A���j���õL���V���@�樮�D�A�礣�P��L�A���F���A�G�����]�m����ι��̻١C

No solid partitions at the boundaries are required as there are no shared boundaries between the captioned farm and other farms and no public driveways in front of the farm gate at the time this document was prepared.