Poultry Farming in British Columbia

British Columbia’s unique geography, climate, and demographics provide a unique opportunity to own farmland and engage in various activities ranging from hands-on fieldwork growing fruits, grain, and veggies to rearing livestock to creating agritourism opportunities. Among the various types of livestock opportunities are poultry farms, one of the great opportunities available to farmers in British Columbia.

According to the BC Chicken Marketing Board (BCCMB), the province currently has 308 registered growers of broiler chickens. The chicken industry plays a significant role in the province’s economy, contributing the following:

– $519 million in farm cash receipts
– 14,353 total jobs
– $1.1 billion to Canada’s GDP
– $243 million in taxes

The poultry industry has four main areas of production: broiler, egg, pullet, and breeder bird. Broiler production involves growing birds for meat, while egg production includes keeping layers to produce eggs for human consumption. Pullet production involves raising hens for laying purposes. British Columbia has two types of poultry production quotas: mainstream and specialty. The mainstream quota covers broiler chickens, roasters, and Cornish hens from widely available commercial chicken stocks including Hubbard ISA, Cobb Vantress, or Ross Breeders. Meanwhile, the specialty quota pertains to Asian specialty breeds such as Silkie and Taiwanese chickens.

According to the BCCMB, dairy and poultry sectors contribute $2.814 million to the province’s GDP while supporting 31,579 jobs and generating $666 million in taxes. The majority of (over 80%) the 155 egg farms in BC are located in Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Together, they produce hundreds of millions of eggs each year, according to the BC Egg Marketing Board.

In British Columbia, all meat sold must be processed at a facility that is inspected and approved by the province or federal government. Residents of British Columbia can apply for a permit to raise up to 2,000 chickens per year for direct marketing on their farms. The permit fee is $20, and holders must keep records of when the chickens are placed and slaughtered.

It is a great opportunity to be a part of the burgeoning poultry industry of BC. The following are requirements for chicken growers as listed by the province:

1. Register your land with the British Columbia Premises Identification (ID) if you keep animals. You can register your premise with the Province of British Columbia here.

2. Complete a Permit Application if you are a permit grower with less than 2,000 birds per year. You must apply for a permit from the British Columbia Chicken Marketing Board annually – 2024 Small Lot Permit Application (Fillable PDF).

3. Farm owners need to submit all chicken placement and slaughter records to the British Columbia Chicken Marketing Board by accessing the Permit Placement & Slaughter Report.

    Interested in becoming a farmer? Get in touch with our expert team at BC Farm & Ranch Realty to learn more about owning farmland in British Columbia.

    Statistic Source: British Columbia Chicken Marketing Board

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