Kentucky Proud

Livestock and Poultry

Animal Identification

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is cooperating with USDA on improving the traceability of US livestock moving interstate when animal disease events take place. Currently, all livestock 18 months or older sold at a Kentucky approved livestock market must be identified to the farm of origin.

Under the proposed rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The proposed rule encourages the use of low-cost technology and specifies approved forms of official identification for each species, such as metal ear tags for cattle. However, recognizing the importance and prevalence of other identifications in certain regions, shipping and receiving states or tribes are permitted to agree upon alternative forms of identification such as brands or tattoos.

Animal Movement

For information on importing animals into Kentucky from other states, please refer to the the Animal Movement tab above or CLICK HERE.


FOR ALL EXHIBITORS IN KENTUCKY: Please note that 302 KAR 20:065, Section 2 (3) (c) states that 'Cattle or other bovine species infected with warts, ringworm, or any other communicable disease shall not be eligible for exhibition'.


Tuberculosis (TB) Accreditation Program & Education
Kentucky became a Tuberculosis Free state in November 1987. We continue to manage this voluntary program for those herd owners that wish to maintain a "tuberculosis accredited herd status". This program is managed by our office, but the qualifying methods are mandated by USDA (listed in the UM&R, latest update 1/1/05). The certification program is only available for cattle, bison, or cervid herds. Bovine Tuberculosis Pamphlet-Information for Producers


Brucellosis Certification Program
Kentucky became a Brucellosis Free state in 1997. We continue to manage this voluntary program for those herd owners that wish to maintain a "brucellosis certified-free herd". This program is managed by the KDA, Office of State Veterinarian, but the qualifying methods are mandated by USDA (listed in the UM&R). The certification program is only available for cattle, bison, or cervid herds.
Testing Qualifications

Johne's Information & Education
Johne's (pronounced "Yo-nees") disease is a chronic, contagious bacterial disease that affects the small intestine of ruminants such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer, antelope and bison. All ruminants are susceptible to Johne's disease.

Johne's disease is caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, a hardy bacterium that embeds itself in the wall of the lower part of the small intestine known as the ileum. As an immune response, infected tissues attempt to regenerate healthy tissue which leads to visible thickening of the intestines. This prevents nutrient absorption, resulting in weight loss. Late in the infection, antibody production by the animal can be found in serum of animals and is an indicator that clinical signs of disease and death from the infection will soon follow.


If you have questions about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), please refer to Poultry/Ratites on the Animal Movement tab above or CLICK HERE.

National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) and Avian Health
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture administers the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) program for the non-commercial poultry industry or backyard flocks. The NPIP program was started in the early 1930s to coordinate State programs aimed at eliminating pullorum from commercial poultry. Testing of backyard flocks provides a means of surveillance to protect the breeder industry and comply with regulations within 9 CFR 145. This program has an active participation level among poultry enthusiasts across the state. Whether you are interested in exhibition poultry or interstate movement or sales this program is available to you once you meet the federally mandated regulations; for a summary of the NPIP program requirements, click here.

Pullorum Disease
History of Pullorum Disease
Raising chickens, turkeys, and other types of poultry--whether done for profit or pleasure--entails undertaking the serious responsibility of disease prevention. Probably the greatest single factor which limited the early expansion of the U.S. poultry industry was the disease known as Bacillary White Diarrhea (BWD), caused by Salmonella pullorum. This disease, later called pullorum disease, was rampant in poultry and could cause upwards of 80 percent mortality in baby poultry. Poultrymen recognized the problem, but were unable to manage it until the causative organism was discovered by Dr. Leo Rettger in 1899 and a diagnostic blood test was developed by Dr. F.S. Jones in 1913.

Following these two discoveries, individual poultry men started to test their birds for pullorum disease and eliminate the reactors from the breeding flocks. But the disease was so widespread that a coordinated effort was necessary. A number of States started statewide pullorum testing programs in the early 1920's; and before long, a few breeding flocks were being identified as free of pullorum.

Kentucky has been recognized as being a US Pullorum-Typhoid Clean State since 1984.

As news of the availability of better stock spread and as better transportation of baby poultry became available, largely through the U.S. mail, breeders became overwhelmed with orders for baby poultry from all over the country. It was then more important than ever, that stock be free of pullorum disease and that production efficiencies be improved to even higher levels.

Pullorum Disease
Pullorum disease is an acute or chronic infectious, bacterial disease affecting primarily chickens and turkeys, but most domestic and wild fowl can be infected. The cause is a bacterium named Salmonella pullorum. This organism is primarily egg transmitted, but transmission may occur by other means such as:

  • Infected hen to egg, egg to chick, or chick to chick in incubator, chick box, brooder, or house. Survivors become infected breeders (cycle begins again),
  • Mechanical transmission (carried around on clothes, shoes or equipment),
  • Carrier birds (apparently healthy birds shed the disease organisms),
  • Contaminated premises (from previous outbreaks).

    Signs of Pullorum Typhoid
  • White diarrhea
  • Pasted Vent
  • Huddle together
  • Lameness
  • Difficulty breathing

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Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza Fact Sheet

    What is avian influenza (AI)?

-Commonly called "bird flu"
-Contagious viral disease usually only affecting birds
-Poultry can have 2 forms: low pathogenic AI and high pathogenic AI

What are low pathogenic and high pathogenic symptoms?

Low pathogenic (LPAI)

- Ruffled feathers, drop in egg production

High pathogenic (HPAI) e.g. H5N1
-Large number of chickens dying quickly,
-Swelling around head, eyelids and neck
-Purple color of wattles, combs and legs
-Lack of energy and appetite
-Big drop in egg production, soft shelled or odd shaped eggs
-Coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge

    Does the virus spread easily from birds to humans?
    No, the virus does not spread easily from birds to humans

    How do people become infected?

-Direct contact with sick or infected poultry
-Droppings from cages
-Poultry in your house
-Children playing in areas where chickens are or have been

Is it safe to eat poultry?

-Yes, properly cooked poultry is safe
-USDA approved poultry and eggs are regularly AI tested securing safety to the public

Will poultry be routinely tested for AI?
es, backyard flocks and commercial poultry will be tested

What do I do if I have a sudden death of chickens?
-Call the Kentucky Department of Agriculture 502-564-3956
-Your veterinarian, or your local extension agent
- United States Department of Agriculture 866-536-7593

Volunteer Your Flock for Avian Influenza Testing
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Poultry Program is looking for owners of backyard poultry flocks to participate in the Avian Influenza (AI) (also known as "bird flu") Testing Program. There is no charge for the testing. Please email this program to discuss the program in detail.

How will the testing be done? Volunteers will have 10 of their birds swabbed orally for AI. Testing will occur four times a year.

    The KDA will be testing flocks that best meet the following requirements:
  • Located close to commercial poultry, waterfowl refuges, or within major wildfowl flyways.
  • Multiple poultry species on premises with access to waterfowl or upland game birds.
  • Birds that move frequently between swap meets or commingle with other birds.

  • Do NOT let visitors into the area where you keep your birds.
  • Change food and water daily.
  • Clean droppings from cages before disinfecting.
  • Wash your hands and clean your shoes with a disinfectant before entering bird area.
  • Don't share or borrow garden tools or cages with other bird owners.
  • Keep your young and old birds separated and keep birds of different species apart (for example ducks separate from chickens).
  • Fence off your bird area.
  • Know the signs of disease so you can stop the spread of disease early, don't wait!

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    Additional Points of Interest:
  • Conduct Avian Influenza surveillance at swap meets, small auctions, flea markets and other poultry venues
  • Detect and contain avian diseases
  • Promote biosecurity through education & outreach visit Biosecurity for the Birds.
  • The poultry industry in Kentucky generated over $1.107 billion for animal agriculture in Kentucky in 2014, thus the importance of maintaining avian health is vital.

Farmed Cervids

The Office of State Veterinarian (OSV) is currently working with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife (FW) to maintain a mandatory monitoring surveillance program for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Kentucky. OSV is responsible for the health requirements of the farmed cervids. Cervids include: deer, elk (including reindeer), moose, etc.

Chronic Wasting Disease CWD
History of Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first recognized as a clinical disease in 1967 in Colorado. As of May 2010, CWD has been found in 19 states and 2 Canadian Provinces: Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Virginia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. CWD has NOT been detected in Kentucky.

Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal, neurological disease, characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain. It affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and has recently been confirmed in a moose. CWD belongs to a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE), which includes Scrapie in sheep and goats, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (commonly known as "mad cow" disease) in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans. It is suspected that the agent responsible for causing TSEs is an abnormal protein called a prion. There is currently no treatment or vaccine available.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Program
Program requirements include fencing (monitored by Kentucky Fish & Wildlife), individual animal identification, regular inventories, and testing of all animals over 12 months of age that die for any reason. With each year of successful surveillance, participating herds will advance in status. State agriculture agencies are responsible for safeguarding the health of domestic livestock including alternative livestock species such as deer and elk. When native wildlife species are farmed the jurisdictions become more complex. Regulatory authority for farmed cervids in Kentucky lies with the State agriculture agency and the wildlife agency. Kentucky has established CWD surveillance and/or herd certification programs and import requirements for farmed cervids.

Farmed Deer Herds in Kentucky
Kentucky has approximately 71 farmed deer herds with a herd status of approximately 1700 deer and 180 elk. All herds are annually inspected by a Kentucky Department of Agriculture inspector as well as a yearly visit by a representative from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. An annual census and veterinarian inspection of the herd is also performed.

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    Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Regulation in Farmed Cervids This regulation requires that all "farmed cervids" shall be enrolled in one of the state CCWDSI programs, either the:
  • Herd Certification Program (HCP) for breeding and propagation herds or
  • Herd Monitoring Program (HMP) for harvest/slaughter herds
  • Click here to access Farmed Cervid Regulations
  • Click here for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife captive cervid information

Sheep and Goats

Effective January 1, 2018 unidentified sheep and goats will not be allowed to be unloaded and sold at a Kentucky Livestock Market.  They must be identified with a Scrapie animal ID ear tag or other official individual animal ID, including registration tattoo prior to marketing or any change of ownership. Scrapie tags may be obtained from the KY USDA APHIS VS office by calling (502) 848-2054 or mailing the Scrapie Tag Order Form to the federal office..

105 Corporate Drive, Suite H
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: 502-848-2054


  • Pseudorabies - Kentucky is Stage V
  • Brucellosis - Kentucky is a Free State
  • Garbage Feeding

Feeding Garbage to swine is illegal. It is one of the ways to spread Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).   FMD is a severe, highly communicable viral disease of cattle and swine.   This country has been free of FMD since 1929, when the last of nine U.S. outbreaks was eradicated.
*Garbage Feeding Brochure

    The following swine shall not be imported into KY for any purpose:
  1. Garbage Fed Swine
  2. Swine vaccinated with Pseudorabies vaccine or
  3. Wild, captive wild or feral swine, Sus scrofa per definition, including Russian wild boars or Eurasian wild boars.

Registered Brands

This booklet includes all brands of record filed with the OSV. The Registered Brand Program is a voluntary program where individuals can register livestock brands for cattle, horses, or mules. The term "brand" refers to both the mark and the location on the animal. Registered brands are regarded as evidence of ownership and will take precedence over brands that are not registered with the state.


Brand Criteria
A brand will be a permanent identification mark of which the letters, numbers, or figures are at least 3 inches or more in length or diameter and humanely burned into the hide of a live animal. Kentucky does not recognize a brand as official animal identification.

Brand Information & Brand Application