Guidance

Hatching eggs and chicks marketing standards

Marketing standards for hatching egg and chick producers, manufacturers, retailers and distributors.

You must follow hatching eggs and chicks marketing standards and guidance on importing and exporting live animals or animal products.

Importing hatching eggs and chicks from the EU to Great Britain (GB)

If you’re importing hatching eggs and chicks from the EU to GB (England, Scotland and Wales), you’ll need to provide specific information depending on what you’re importing.

Marking individual hatching eggs

Individual hatching eggs need to be printed with the:

  • country of origin
  • word ‘hatching’ in English or in the language of the country of origin

This text should be printed in type at least 3mm high.

Marking packs of hatching eggs

Packs of hatching eggs must show the:

  • country of origin
  • word ‘hatching’ in English, or in the language of the country of origin
  • poultry species the eggs come from
  • name and address of the sender or business

Marking packs of chicks

GB only accepts imports of packs of chicks where the individual chicks are from the same sender and country of origin.

Chicks must be packed by species, type and category of poultry.

Packs must contain only a single species, category and type of poultry from the same establishment.

Boxes of chicks should be marked with the:

  • country of origin
  • poultry species
  • name and address of the sender or business

Your packaging information should be marked using:

  • indelible black ink
  • letters or figures at least 20mm high and 10mm wide, drawn 1mm thick

If you mark the following with a breeding establishment number that contains a reference to the country of origin, you do not need to mark the country of origin separately:

  • hatching eggs
  • packs of eggs
  • chick boxes

Accompanying documents

Hatching eggs and packs of chicks must be accompanied by documentation showing the:

  • name and address of the sender, including country of origin
  • number of eggs for hatching or chicks according to species, category and type of poultry
  • date of dispatch
  • name and address of the destination

Importing hatching eggs and chicks from the EU to Northern Ireland (NI)

There is no change to the requirements for importing hatching eggs and chicks from the EU to NI.

Moving hatching eggs and chicks from NI to GB

There is no change to the requirements for moving hatching eggs and chicks from NI to GB.

Exporting hatching eggs and chicks from GB to the EU

The UK is classed as a third country.

If you export hatching eggs and chicks to the EU, you must follow third country import requirements in the EU marketing standards regulations.

Marking individual hatching eggs

Individual hatching eggs need to be printed with the:

  • country of origin
  • word ‘hatching’ in English or in the language of the country of origin
  • breeding establishment approval number

This text should be printed in type at least 3mm high.

The EU may not accept exports of hatching eggs from GB that are not marked with this information.

Breeding establishment approval number

You must mark individual hatching eggs with their breeding establishment approval number to get an export health certificate.

Country of origin

Although there’s no specific requirement to use the UK’s ISO code on individual hatching eggs, producers in GB should use one of the following:

  • GB
  • United Kingdom
  • UNITED KINGDOM
  • UK

Guidance will be provided on country of origin requirements for producers in NI when available.

Marking packs of hatching eggs

Packs of hatching eggs must show the:

  • country of origin, use ‘GB’, ‘United Kingdom’, ‘UNITED KINGDOM’ or ‘UK’
  • word ‘hatching’ in English or in the language of the country of origin
  • species the eggs come from
  • name and address of the sender or business

If you mark the following with a hatchery number that contains ‘UK’, you may not need to mark the country of origin separately:

  • hatching eggs
  • packs of eggs
  • chick boxes

Exporting chicks from GB to the EU

The EU only accepts exports of packs of chicks where the individual chicks are from the same sender and country of origin.

Chicks must be packed by species, type and category of poultry.

Each pack must contain one species, category and type of poultry from the same establishment.

Boxes of chicks should be marked with the:

  • country of origin, use GB, United Kingdom, ‘UNITED KINGDOM’ or UK
  • poultry species
  • name and address of the sender or business

Your packaging information should be marked using:

  • indelible black ink
  • letters or figures at least 20mm high and 10mm wide, drawn 1mm thick

If you do not pack and mark your exports of hatching eggs and chicks with this information, your exports may be delayed or rejected at an EU border.

If you mark the following with a breeding establishment number that contains a reference to the country of origin, you will not need to mark the country of origin separately:

  • hatching eggs
  • packs of eggs
  • chick boxes

Accompanying documents

Hatching eggs and packs of chicks must be accompanied by documentation showing the:

  • name and address of the sender, including country of origin
  • number of eggs for hatching or chicks according to species, category and type of poultry
  • date of dispatch
  • name and address of the destination

Checks and controls

Customs checks may be carried out on your products. Hatching eggs and chicks, along with all products of animal origin (POAO), should enter the EU via a Border Control Post (BCP). BCPs were previously known as Border Inspection Posts (BIP).

Find details of the most used BCPs in the EU:

Exporting hatching eggs and chicks from NI to the EU

There is no change to the marketing standards requirements for exporting hatching eggs and chicks to the EU from NI.

Moving hatching eggs and chicks from GB to NI

Goods moving from GB to NI are subject to EU import marketing standards requirements.

Checks and controls

Goods moved from GB to NI must enter through designated points of entry.

For more information, read guidance on moving goods into, out of, or through NI.

Labelling hatching eggs and packs of hatching eggs produced in NI

No labelling changes are required for hatching eggs and packs of hatching eggs produced in NI, regardless of their final destination.

Importing hatching eggs and chicks from non-EU countries to the UK

There is no change to the requirements for importing hatching eggs and chicks to the UK from non-EU countries.

Exporting hatching eggs and chicks from the UK to non-EU countries

Hatching eggs and chicks for export to non-EU countries may need to meet different requirements. You should check the import requirements of the country you’re exporting to.

Exporting hatching eggs and chicks from the UK to non-EU countries via the EU

For consignments destined for non-EU countries that pass through the EU, read guidance on importing and exporting live animals or animal products.

Rejected goods

If the hatching eggs or chicks consignment you’re exporting from GB to the EU is rejected at the EU border, you may be able to return the goods to GB. Your consignment must meet GB marketing standard requirements before it can enter GB free circulation (declared and customs duties paid).

You do not need to provide documentary evidence.

If you need help

Contact poultry.mailbox@defra.gov.uk if you have any queries. You’ll receive a response within 5 working days.

Published 31 December 2020
Last updated 15 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. New guidance for bringing goods back to Great Britain if they have been rejected for import.

  2. First published.