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Widget Creek Ranch has successfully imported Sulmtaler hatching eggs from Europe. The process is extremely involved and also quite expensive. For the inexperienced person this was a very hard task to do. Although we do not recommend trying this we still want to explain the procedure and possible pitfalls here in case somebody is looking for this information.

Regulations and import restrictions do change quite frequently so it is imperative to always search for updated information at USDA. This particular import was attempted in June/July 2011 and might not be accurate anymore.

The United States Department of Agriculture is trying to keep poultry diseases existing elsewhere from entering the United States. This causes the process of importing hatching eggs (let alone live animals!) to be very difficult. But it has also kept our flocks from being infected with foreign diseases. Penalties for illegally importing eggs and/or animals are severe and would undermine the USDA’s attempt of keeping foreign pathogenic organisms out of the country!

Here is the main information page:


You will also notice that certain countries are excluded and others will be excluded due to quarantine requirements that will essentially destroy hatching eggs.

So here a closer look at the process:

Documents needed to accompany the shipment are

The permit needs to be requested at least 10 days in advance. The cost for the permit is $141. An amendment to the permit is $70. The application is fairly easy to fill out and can be found here:

Import Permit Application VS 17-129 & Import Permit Application Instructions

Possible Pitfalls:

Numbers to call: USDA APHIS VS Program Office at 301-734-3277. Dr. Cooper at this office approves permits.

Upon receipt of the permit call the port of entry and let them know when the eggs are arriving!


The Veterinary Health Certificate is a form written by anybody but needs to contain all the necessary information. Information on the APHIS website might not be complete! The Import Permit will contain a complete list of requirements needed for this form. Except by the time you receive the permit it might be too late to amend the Veterinary Health Certificate because it needs to be signed by a government veterinarian that inspects the flock of origin.

Our example that made it through is shown here (this is not the signed version, these are just the requirements):

Veterinary Health Certificate

Possible Pitfalls:

For this you will need a warm body in the country of origin that can arrange for the testing.


Finding a Shipper can be very difficult. Not all shippers will ship fertilized eggs and not all shippers can accommodate the speed necessary for the eggs. UPS for example did not accept hatching eggs in our case.

A lot of research will be necessary to find the best solution. The best solution will likely not be ideal but very expensive.

Possible Pitfalls:

A good site for information about flights for FedEx is an online FLIGHTTRACKER or search engines.


A brief description of my eggs odyssey can be found here (also includes a table with costs, not for those with a weak stomach):