This checklist has been prepared for people considering getting chickens for the summer or as a hobby. The requirements related to the keeping of animals must be complied with, regardless of the number of animals or the length of their keeping. The requirements aim to safeguard animal welfare and ensure that animals do not pose a risk of disease to other animals or to humans.
Owners are always responsible for the health and welfare of their chickens. This responsibility is incumbent on owners at all times, from the acquisition of the animal to its slaughter or death. Before acquiring animals, it is necessary to learn about the behaviour, care, and the nutritional needs of chickens and the requirements for the place where they are kept. Please, read the checklist carefully!
- Register where the chickens are kept (establishments) and the keeping of chickens in the electronic Eläintenpitäjä- ja pitopaikkarekisteri or report them to the rural business authority in your municipality.
- In addition, in a town plan zone, contact the health protection authority and, if necessary, the construction supervision department of your municipality.
- Follow the regulations for keeping chickens outdoors
- Read the animal welfare legislation applying to chickens
- Chickens from abroad? Remember import requirements!
- Ensure the prevention of salmonella and other diseases
- Keep proper records of medical treatment and the number of dead animals
- Read the slaughter and killing instructions for chickens
- Find out how to dispose of a dead or slaughtered chicken
1. Register where the chickens are kept and complete the notification of keeping chickens
All keepers of poultry must register the place (establishment) where the animals are kept in the electronic register Eläintenpitäjä- ja pitopaikkarekisteri (Register of animal keepers and establishments) or the rural business authority your own municipality. The keeping of animals in the establishment shall also be registered for the Eläintenpitäjä- ja pitopaikkarekisteri. The registration requirements therefore apply to the keeper of even a single chicken or the lessee of 'summer leasing chickens'. A record must also be kept of animal data in the establishment. When chicken keeping ends or is suspended more than six months, this must be reported to the Eläintenpitäjä- ja pitopaikkarekisteri.
2. In addition, in a town plan zone, you should contact the health protection authority and building control department in your municipality
You can ask the health protection authority in your own municipality for more information on keeping chickens in a town plan zone. If the purpose of the buildings changes or if new buildings are built, contact the building control authority in your municipality if necessary.
3. Follow the regulations for keeping chickens outdoors
Chicken keepers must take into account the regulations restricting the keeping of poultry outdoors. Those regulations apply from 8 February to the end of May in order to prevent the spread of the avian flu virus. Avian flu is transmitted from one bird to another through secretions and also over short distances through the air. This is why it is important to prevent direct contact, in particular between wild waterfowl and poultry, and to prevent the faeces of wild birds from contaminating poultry feed or drinking water.
More information on the ban on keeping poultry outdoors. Relevant Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Decree 369/2021(in Finnish and Swedish).
4. Read the animal welfare legislation applying to chickens
The Animal Welfare Act (247/1996 as amended) and the Animal Welfare Decree (396/1996 as amended) regulate the keeping, care, treatment and handling of animals. In addition, the animal welfare requirements for the keeping of chickens are laid down in the Government decree on the protection of chickens (673/2010 in Finnish and Swedish only). The website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry contains up-to-date animal welfare legislation.
A summary of the legislation on the keeping of chickens can also be found in the "Kana -eläinsuojelulainsäädäntöä koottuna" guide. The guide can be downloaded in pdf version.
5. Chickens from abroad? Remember import requirements!
Animal health requirements have been laid down for the importation of chickens in order to protect human and other animal health. Compliance requires the importer to obtain information and to address the issue well in advance of the planned import. Failure to comply with import requirements means the imports are illegal. If you suspect that animals are being imported illegally, you should report the matter to the municipal or regional veterinarian. More information on import requirements
6. Ensure the prevention of salmonella and other diseases and ensure proper feeding of the chickens
If eggs are sold or donated for use outside their own household, samples must be taken from the hen house regularly in accordance with the salmonella control programme. Guidelines on salmonella sampling for poultry. Salmonella control guidelines and forms (in Finnish and Swedish). The requirements related to the sale of eggs can be found in the Guidelines on the production and sale of chicken's eggs and other birds' eggs (in Finnish). The donation and direct sale of chicken's eggs must also be reported in an informal form, for example by email, to the food control authority in your own municipality. You can find the contact details of your local food control authority here: https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/en/private-persons/information-on-food/contact-food-control-authority/
If eggs are donated or sold on a larger scale than, for example, to a lesser extent as a gift to another private household, then the producer of the eggs must also register as a feed business operator in primary producer. More information on registration as a feed business operator and other requirements of feed law can be found on the website of the Finnish Food Authority website Feeds (in Finnish and Swedish).
Animal owners play a key role in preventing contagious animal diseases and their spread. Any suspicion of a contagious animal disease must be reported to the municipal veterinarian. Up-to-date information on animal diseases and their prevention and control.
The suitability of the feed and the spread of animal diseases shall be taken into account in the feeding of chickens. The risk of animal diseases is linked in particular to the use of animal products in the feeding of animals. The use of products of animal origin (except milk and egg products and fishmeal) is prohibited in the feeding of food producing animals. It is not allowed to give shop-bought animal products, such as sausages or minced meat, to chickens. In order to prevent the spread of animal diseases, it is also prohibited to feed catering waste to food producing animals. Catering waste means food waste from a kitchen, which has been on a plate or on display when dining, whereupon products of animal and plant origin could have become mixed.
Salmonella can spread through feed, which is why feed hygiene must be ensured, by among other things obtaining feed from registered feed business operators, by regularly cleaning the feeding containers and equipment, by protecting the feed from pests and by keeping chicken housing clean, in particular by ensuring the removal of manure.
7. Keep proper records of medical treatment and the number of dead animals
The owner or keeper of production animals shall keep records of the medical treatment given to these animals and of the number of dead animals. Records of the medical treatment of chickens shall be kept for at least five years and records of the number of dead animals shall be kept for at least three years from the end of the year in which the animal was last entered in the records.
More information on legislation on the medication of animals can be obtained from the veterinarian treating the animals and from the Food Authority website Medication records of production animals (in Finnish and Swedish).
8. Read the slaughter and killing requirements for chickens
The killing or slaughtering of an animal must be carried out as quickly and as painlessly as possible. An animal may only be killed by a person with sufficient knowledge of the killing method and technique suitable for the animal species concerned and with the sufficient skills to perform the procedure.
More detailed information on the requirements and permitted methods of killing and slaughtering animals (in Finnish and Swedish).
9. Find out how to dispose of a dead chicken
Chickens are production animals and legislation on the disposal of production animals must therefore be complied with in order to dispose of dead chickens. Dead chickens are permitted to be buried throughout Finland if there are fewer than 100 chickens in the place where the hens are kept. Burying must not pose a risk to human or animal health. More detailed instructions on burying or otherwise disposing of the carcass can be obtained from the municipal veterinarian and the environmental protection authorities. More information on burying a dead animal and on the disposal of a dead chicken (in Finnish and Swedish).