Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry (Poultry S&G)

In July 2023, Agriculture Ministers from around Australia, including Victoria, endorsed the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry.

Implementation of the standards and guidelines including timeframes will take place at the state and territory level having regard to the specific operational environments of each jurisdiction.

Implementation of the Poultry S&Gs will improve poultry welfare and provide certainty for poultry producers that enables them to invest in new infrastructure and technology.

Agriculture Victoria will continue to work with industry organisations and producers to plan how to best implement the changes and manage any transitional arrangements.

What is the Poultry S&G?

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry (Poultry S&G) is one of a suite of Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines that aim to harmonise national animal welfare legislation, providing clarity and consistency to industry, consumers and trading partners.

Further information on all animal welfare standards and guidelines, including the development process,  is available on the Australian Government agriculture website.

What species does the Poultry S&G cover?

The Poultry S&G apply to all poultry species in Australia. ‘Poultry’ are defined as the bird types reared or bred in captivity and includes:

  • chickens
  • ducks
  • emus
  • geese
  • guinea fowl
  • ostriches
  • partridges
  • pheasants
  • pigeons
  • quail
  • turkeys

Who do the Poultry S&G apply to?

The Poultry S&G apply to all persons responsible for the care and management of poultry, including commercial producers, backyard poultry, hobby or pet owners and poultry fanciers. They do not cover the transport and slaughter of poultry as these are covered under separate standards and guidelines.

How will the Poultry S&G be implemented?

Ministers agreed that implementation will be reported through the Animal Welfare Task Group.
Australian State and Territory Governments will implement the standards components in the Poultry S&G under their respective animal welfare Act or regulations.

The intention is for jurisdictions to implement as soon as reasonably possible however amendment of legislation can take time.

What are the current animal welfare regulatory requirements for poultry?

The POCTA (Domestic Fowl) Regulations 2016  set out the legal requirements for keeping and housing of chickens.
The Victorian and Australian Model Codes of Practice, provide guidance for all poultry species, these include:

Further information on other legal requirements for poultry is available on the Poultry and Eggs webpage.

Page last updated: 22 Mar 2024