The purpose of this NYS On-Farm Poultry Slaughter Guidelines is to provide processing and handling recommendations to NYS producers who process and sell less than 1000 chickens or 250 turkeys under the Producer/Grower – 1000 Bird Limit Exemption. The goal is that products offered for sale are wholesome and processed under clean and sanitary conditions, and that the operation itself does not result in environmental harm.
Consumer interest in locally raised pastured poultry is high, and many small-scale farmers are working to meet this demand. One challenge these farmers encounter is that there are no federally-inspected slaughterhouses in NY that will accept these birds, and state-inspected plants and mobile poultry processing units are few and far between. So most small commercial producers take advantage of federal legislation allowing producers raising less than 1,000 chickens/year (or less than 250 turkeys) to sell poultry they raise, slaughter and process on their own farm in uninspected facilities.
The next problem the small-scale poultry processor faces is getting farm insurance coverage, particularly product liability insurance. As of June 2012 there are no known cases of food borne illness traced back to a small-scale producer slaughtering birds in uninspected on-farm facilities. But insurers are understandably nervous about covering these operations, especially as they have increased in number in recent years, leading insurers to feel that their risk exposure is greater. This guide is part of a strategy to properly train poultry producers in the regulations and food safety best practices for processing their poultry on-farm. It was developed at the suggestion of a major farm insurer, and should result in fewer insurance coverage denials for small-scale farmers processing their poultry on-farm.