The Georgia Egg Law governs the production and sale of eggs. The egg processing facility must be licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture unless selling restricted eggs. All eggs offered for sale must be graded by a certified grader and appropriately packaged and labeled in accordance to the Georgia Egg Law and Georgia Food Act, rules and regulations.
Restricted egg producers means that the eggs are
However, ALL eggs offered for sale must be graded by a certified grader, and appropriately packaged and labeled in accordance to the GA Egg Law and GA Food Act, rules, and regulations. A small scale egg producer is not required to have a food sales establishment license and undergo routine inspections, but the small scale egg producer IS required to abide by State regulations, which include obtaining an egg grader's certificate (or candling license). Again, to be sold, all chicken eggs must be evaluated by a certified grader and appropriately packaged and labeled in accordance with the Georgia Egg Law and Georgia Food Act. To sell eggs to a grocery store, bakery or restaurant, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDOA) must license the farmer's candling facility. The no-cost, lifetime certificate is obtained by passing both written and hands-on candling examinations.
Restricted Eggs (Backyard Henhouses)
Restricted eggs include the sale of eggs from a producers own flock at the site of production, on a door-to-door retail route, or at an established place of business owned and managed by the producer and sold directly to a household consumer as the end user. Provided that each such sale of restricted eggs shall be limited to no more than 30 dozen eggs and from a flock of 3,000 hens or less. The eggs shall contain no more loss and/or leakers than allowed in the official standards for U.S. Consumer Grade B shell eggs.
The producers of these restricted eggs will be regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture but not required to obtain a Food Sales Establishment License. The eggs must be candled by a licensed candler and follow labeling, transporting, and storing/displaying requirements.
Non-Restricted Eggs (Large Scale producers):
Non-restricted eggs include the sale of eggs from a producer who intends to sell eggs to retail store (not owned and operated by producer), to a restaurant and/or institution, or to a facility/individual for further sale. This type of egg producer will be required to obtain a Food Sales Establishment License with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and must follow all guidelines in this document including the facility restrictions.
Egg Grader's Certificate:
A person must receive an egg grader's certificate (Candling License) to sell both restricted and non-restricted eggs. The individual must pass the written and candling examinations. The information on egg grading classes is available by calling the district office in your area (county where the operation will be located).
The Georgia Dept of Agriculture has Egg Laws and
Regulations for dealers, retailers and wholesalers. A dealer is
defined as someone who sells more then 5 cases of eggs per week. A
case is 30 Doz eggs, or 360 eggs; so a total of 150 dozen eggs a
week puts a backyard henhouse into the retail scale. Eggs sold at a
location other than a commercial farm are a special case in Georgia.
All chicken eggs must be evaluated by a certified grader and appropriately packaged and labeled in accordance with the Georgia Egg Law and Georgia Food Act. To sell eggs to a grocery store, bakery or restaurant, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDOA) must license the farmer's candling facility. The no-cost, lifetime certificate is obtained by passing both written and hands-on candling examinations.
Before you can legally sell eggs from a backyard flock, you must know how to candle them. The GDOA teach classes on egg candling which are often held at local UGA Extension offices.
An egg candling certification is obtained by completing and passing an Egg Candling Class, which includes a written examination and a hands-on candling examination, which are both administered by GDA representatives. Please see the website's Agriculture Calendar to find out about upcoming classes. Classes are scheduled at various times throughout the state during the year. The recommended study materials to successfully complete the Egg Candling Course include the Georgia Egg Law and the USDA Federal Egg-Grading Manual. For more information, contact:
Or contact your respective District Office to request class information.
If you want to sell your backyard eggs at a farmers' market or flea market, you must first apply for and obtain a licence from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and must follow posted 'local operating rules' for the market. Like all eggs sold in Georgia, the eggs must also have been candled by someone who is officially licensed as an egg candler as provided by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Eggs sold at roadside stands and roadside markets located on state
or federal highways that cater to transient rather than neighborhood
trade must meet state and federal inspection standards and the
seller must hold a valid Georgia Department of Agriculture permit.
This also apples to the facility from which the eggs were processed
Egg sizes: Minimum Size or Weight Classes - see the table at right:
The QUALITY classifications for individual EGGs shall be:
Basic Regulatory Requirements for Licensing a Small Egg Producer
Grading information can be found in the USDA's Egg Grading Manual.
Just as one example, which can give you a good idea of typical requirements for keeping backyard chickens in Georgia, here are the Dekalb County rules"
I. Keeping of chickens, pigeons.
1. The minimum fenced yard area for chickens shall be twenty-five (25) square feet per hen.
2. Chickens and pigeons must be housed at least twenty (20) feet from any property line, and fifty (50) feet from any residence other than the owner's.
3. Any structure housing chickens and pigeons must be located in the rear yard if a principal building exists.
4. The minimum lot size for the keeping of chickens or pigeons is ten thousand (10,000) square feet. Fenced area for chickens shall comply with the setback requirements for accessory structures. Chickens and pigeons and associated structures and fencing shall comply with relevant articles of Chapters 16 and 18, relating to noise and property maintenance.
5. No roosters are allowed.
6. The maximum number of hens shall be one (1) hen per two thousand (2,000) square feet of lot size.
7. Each coop shall have at least four (4) square feet of floor space per chicken over four (4) months old. For Bantams, a variety defined as miniature, each coop shall have one (1) square foot of floor area per chicken over four (4) months old.
8. Chickens must be kept securely in an enclosed yard or pen at all times.
9. Chickens are only permitted as pets or for egg production; the chickens cannot be kept for slaughter.
10. Composted animal waste can be used as fertilizer for the purpose of enriching the soil of the owner's property.
11. Animals must be kept under sanitary conditions and shall not be a public nuisance.
You should call DeKalb County Zoning Administrator Marian Eisenberg on 404-371-4922 for the latest status. Meantime, DeKalb County continues to enforce the previous ordinances, which classify chickens as livestock, therefore requiring a minimum property size of 2 acres before chickens are allowed.