Poultry and Waterfowl

Poultry, according to the USDA includes chicken, turkey, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, and ratites

If you are slaughtering your own poultry (more than 20,000 birds), you must follow the USDA regulations. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture (VAA), in most instances, will be the contact, despite the regulations coming from the USDA. 

  • Make sure you have the proper licensing from the Vermont Agency of Ag
  • Any processed poultry (sausage, cut up pieces, or slaughter greater than 20,000 per year) requires inspection from the USDA (Vermont Agency of Ag can perform the inspection)
  • The facility must meet USDA guidelines
  • You will need to develop a HACCP plan (the only exemption is poultry soup which does not require a HACCP)
  • Depending on your product and where you sell you may need a licence from the Vermont Health Department, Call (802) 863-7221

Poultry Processing Exemptions (in these cases you may be exempt from USDA regulations)

  • Follow the Guidelines for Slaughtering and Selling Exempt Poultry
    • If you are slaughtering less than 1,000 chickens, you are exempt from USDA inspection requirements. These chickens must remain whole (you cannot cut up the carcass into pieces) and in general must be sold in Vermont directly to the consumer or restaurant. There are labeling guidelines in the link above.  
    • Between 1,000 and 5,000 does not require inspection, but does require additional sanitary standards and requires a processing facility
    • Up to 20,000 does not require inspection, but does require federal sanitation standards
  • If you are both slaughtering/processing and operating a retail establishment (ie. You cut up poultry into pieces which are repackaged and sold in your own store), you must follow Vermont Department of Health regulations and obtain a Retail Processing license from the VTDA.  


Meat facility requirements

VAA Guidance for Poultry Slaughter

Meat inspection matrix from UVM Extension

The Mad River Food Hub in Waitsfield provides consulting for meat processing and is a USDA inspected facility

Questions about what regulations you need to follow? Contact Randy Quenneville at the Vermont Agency of Ag randy.quenneville@vermont.gov 802-828-2426