Poultry welfare

Agriculture Victoria's Animal Health and Welfare programs aim to promote agreed animal welfare outcomes for poultry by defining:

  • acceptable poultry management practices
  • treatment and handling of poultry in all types of production systems, including backyard production.

Development and delivery of the programs involves the following activities:

  • policy
  • legislation
  • advisory
  • communication with stakeholders
  • research
  • regulatory.

The programs form part of a national approach to ensure that our livestock and livestock products meet the requirements of domestic and international customers.

Here you will find information about poultry welfare which applies to all ages and types of poultry (fowls, turkeys, ducks, geese, pheasants, guinea fowl, partridge, quail and pigeons), whether kept commercially or as a hobby.

Caring for the welfare of poultry

To understand your obligations to ensure the welfare of poultry that either you own or are in your care, see:

There are also a range of codes of practice that apply to poultry species. These codes of practice are made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. They set out recommended minimum standards and practices for the keeping of a wide range of species and animal related activities.

Code of Accepted Farming Practice for the Welfare of Poultry - describes additional recommended practices for the housing and handling of chickens farmed for egg and meat production

Code of Practice for the Husbandry of Captive Emus (Revision 1) - a guide for all people responsible for the welfare and husbandry of emus that are bred and/or reared in captivity

Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals on Private Game Reserves Licensed to Hunt Game Birds - aims to prevent cruelty and encourage the considerate treatment of introduced game birds that are reared for release to be hunted on a Private Game Reserve that is licensed to do so.

Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry

In July 2023, Agriculture Ministers from around Australia, including Victoria, endorsed the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry. This followed an extensive process of stakeholder consultation, and the consideration of contemporary animal welfare science and community expectations.

Further information on the Poultry S&G is available here and on the Australian Government website.

Report your concern about the welfare of poultry

If you're concerned about the welfare of poultry, contact our Customer Service Centre on 136 186 and ask to speak with an animal health officer or district veterinary officer.

Page last updated: 21 Mar 2024