DEFRA: The Poultry Register

DEFRA keep a Poultry Register and it is compulsory to register with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) if you keep more than 50 birds although they also encourage people with fewer than 50 birds to register so that poultry keepers can be notified of disease outbreaks such as Avian Influenza.


Over the last few years, being registered has been useful because you will receive advice and notifications if there are any outbreaks of AI (Bird Flu) and if there is a requirement to keep birds under cover because of restrictions, they will let you know.

  • You must register if you go over 50 birds at any time but you can also register voluntarily if you keep less than this: remember to consider chicks and any excess birds that are hatched for the dinner table or to sell each year.
  • ‘Poultry’ includes: chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, pigeons (kept for meat), partridge, pheasants, quail, osterich, emu, rhea and Guinea fowl so it soon adds up!

You can register by going to this page:


  1. Hi, I work in a junior school and we are interested in getting some chickens and ducks and was wondering if we had to register with yourselfs. Thank you

  2. My sons neighbour has started keeping chickens in a small garden, even though they are lovely and the eggs are great he cannot sit out in his garden for the smell, is there anything he can do so neutralise this so they can enjoy their garden.

    • I put sand in the bottom of my chicken shed. Builders sand put down quite thick. rake off the poo every day or so, I have a big sieve to get out the lumps and pop them in a compost bin. it works like a cat litter tray. It is much cleaner and healthier for the chickens as they can clean their feathers in the dust, smells less, less mites. well good!

    • It depends on your set up – but most people start with pullets at point of lay (female chickens under a year old at 15-18 weeks old).

  3. We have an allotment plot on which we keep 9 chickens, but other plots on the same allotment site also keep chickens. If the total amount add up to more than 50 should they be registered?

    • I don’t believe the regulations account for things like this, but it might be a good idea for one person to register.

    • Unless there are covenants in your house deeds (often added by house builders or local councils) then no, not in the UK.

  4. Hi there I was wondering if any vaccinations and/ regular checks required while keeping 50 chickens or more on a allotment site

    • I don’t believe there are requirements for this, although 50 or more chickens means registering with the DEFRA Poultry Register.

    • Technically, that’s correct. After the BSE outbreak, the rules were changed so that food from kitchens wasn’t fed to animals.
      You can feed ‘allotment scraps’ and ‘garden scraps’ staright to your chickens, but if you take them into your kitchen, you can’t then take them out and feed them to your chickens…

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