Poultry Farming In Canada, How To Start, and Tips

Introduction on how to start poultry farming in Canada: The process of raising domestic birds for meat, eggs, and feather production is called poultry farming. It is a profitable business, but a lot of people fail due to a lack of proper knowledge and business idea. The poultry farm is mainly considered to be the fastest-growing division of the agriculture sector. The government of Canada has been making generous investments in processing, breeding, rearing, and hatching processes for further growth. The major poultry birds are chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl.

A guide on how to start poultry farming in Canada, tips, ideas, and techniques for chicken breeds in Canada

Layer Poultry Chicken
Layer Poultry Chicken (Image Source: pixabay)

Facts about poultry farming in Canada

  • Chickens are by far the most farmed poultry bird in Canada. Chickens that are raised for meat are known as broiler chickens. Across Canada, there are over 2,000 broiler chicken farms available.
  • Canada has supply management that prohibits the import of eggs. Approximately, about 90% of Canada’s eggs are laid by hens housed in battery cages. The other 10% of hens are housed in enriched, free-run, free-range, or aviary system facilities.
  • The poultry farming sector represents a unique industry in Canada, made up of a range of commercial and non-commercial enterprises. Between chicken producers and egg producers, poultry ranges across a different variety of different species. In Canada, there are over 543 turkey farmers, 1,100 egg farmers, and 2,600 chicken producers available.
  • Canadian producers export impressive chicken products to countries as diverse as the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Africa. The United States is the largest recipient of chicken products from Canada.
  • A total of about 26 million hens produce in Canada, more than 600 million dozen eggs per year. Approximately 40% of Canada’s total egg production accounts in Ontario.
  • Chicken Farmers of Canada produce the right amount of fresh, safe, and high-quality chicken and is responsible for 2,800 farmers.
  • Egg farms in Canada provide a steady supply of safe and high-quality eggs at a fair price. This is an efficient management system for producing eggs, research, product promotion, and marketing activities. Approximately, Canadians eat about 19.4 dozen or 233 eggs per year.
  • You have to make a poultry farming business plan before starting a chicken farm business; it is important for all types of business. It will tell you at which point you are now in your business.

Benefits of Poultry Farming in Canada

The poultry farming business has many benefits. So, many growers prefer to invest in this business.

  • The poultry farming business provides a high-yield business.
  • For poultry farming, much capital is not required.
  • For starting a poultry farming business, lots of space is not required. You can start with the available area.
  • Poultry farming might be immediately lucrative.
  • Only less maintenance is necessary for poultry farmers.
  • You can easily acquire a license for this poultry business.
  • Employment opportunities on multiple levels are created in poultry farming.
  • Marketing is very easy in the poultry business.
  • It gives a rapid return on investment that is produced and can be increased within a short period.
  • It is a continuous source of income. It is not seasonal and produces income for the entire year.
  • Poultry droppings that are wasted are nitrogenous and considered suitable for fertilizers.
  • It mainly offers good full-time or part-time employment opportunities to farmers.
  • It doesn’t need high capital to start, which is the main benefit of poultry farming. You need basic capital to start raising poultry farming.
  • Poultry farming doesn’t need ample space. Also, raise poultry birds in your backyard with one or numerous coops or cages.
  • It needs high returns within a short time – Within a short period, the poultry farming business ensures a high return on investment. Few poultry birds take a shorter time duration to mature and generate profit. Poultry products are not very expensive.

Major poultry industry players in Canada

Maple Leaf, Maple Lodge, Olymel, Lilydale, and Exceldor are the largest poultry companies in Canada.

Canadian companies slaughter roughly 12 million chickens per week. The average slaughter plant produces 450,000 chickens per week. These larger poultry companies with bigger plants can slaughter up to 800,000. Relatively, plant sizes in Canada are small, which speaks to capacity concerns that currently influence the Canadian industry.

Canadian Eggs – Over half of Canada’s eggs are produced in Central Canada. With the introduction of innovations, the rate at which hens lay eggs continues to increase. Improved chicken genetics plays an important role. All these factors allow egg farmers to harvest more eggs with less.

Egg consumption has remained stable over the years. Canadian egg exports primarily consist of processed eggs. Most of these exports travel to the United States, but Germany and Russia are also key recipients of these products.

Canadian Turkeys – Approximately 543 turkey farmers in the country produce about 158 million kilograms of turkey every year. Approximately 4.2 kilograms of turkey consumed per capita reflects this reality compared to the 31.2 kilograms of chicken consumed. About 80% of turkey sales in Canada occur during holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas.

Select a good poultry farm location in Canada

  • It is very important to select a good poultry farm location for a successful business.
  • Start by choosing a location with access to roads, medical facilities, adequate security, power, clean water supply, etc.
  • You should consider a farm location close to the market where you will sell your products. This does not mean your farm should be in the town or near residential areas.
  • Selecting a poultry farm in residential areas is legally restricted because poultry farms produce an offensive odor.
  • A poultry farm can be located far away from the town. Remember that do not set up the farm too far from the town so that transportation costs will not be an issue for you to achieve the goal of targeting the high-density market in the town.

Housing requirements for poultry farming in Canada

  • For broiler farming, conventional systems work well. For 3 to 8 poultry birds, solid metal or meshed poultry cages with a sloped floor are necessary. Depending on available space, they can be stacked or spread across the floor.
  • You will want parent stock cages that allow mating if you are breeding chickens and where minimal egg breakage is the main concern. Some breeding systems include rearing cages that allow for bird growth.
  • For raising chickens in backyard chicken coops, there are endless options. Also, add perches, lighting, and even green roofs to keep the coop cool in the summer. Predator protection is likely the main concern.
  • It is very easy to repurpose an existing outbuilding for a chicken house. For backyard production, decorative design elements can be desired.
  • There are different ways that hens are housed. Housing hens inside barns helps to protect the poultry birds. The type of barn a farmer has mainly depends on many factors like bird health and well-being, farm employee work environments, economics, and market demand.

House construction for poultry farming in Canada

Enriched colony housing – It is popular on Canadian egg farms. In this housing, hens live together, giving birds more room to move around, stretch, spread their wings, and express natural behaviors. These include perching, scratching, and laying their eggs in a private nest. Housing for poultry birds in smaller social groups also helps to reduce aggressive behaviors from the more dominant hens.

Hens have main access to the barn floor or roam outside when weather permits in free-range barns. In conventional barns, hens are mainly kept in small groups. Canadian egg farmers are phasing out this housing type.

Ventilation – Ventilation is a very important factor in housing. A building with open sides is ideal. Otherwise, cross-ventilation at bird level must be allowed for the prevailing wind to blow through the width of the building. The wider the building for poultry birds, the more resistant it is to air movement.

Light – A well-lit house is essential. Light is an important factor in feeding poultry birds. For 1st week of life, intensively managed day-old birds need bright 24-hour lighting. The increasing light proportion will increase the production of eggs if hens are already laying.

Protection – Several factors influence the construction of poultry housing. These factors include the local climate, the size of the flock, the available space, and the management system. Birds should be protected from disease and predators but also be able to forage in extensive systems.  

Purchase some poultry farming equipment

Poultry farming equipment makes poultry farming very easy.  It helps you to manage your poultry birds properly so that they can eat healthily, drink healthy, and live in a healthy environment. The equipment you need to run a poultry business is many, and they are all important.

Some of the necessary poultry farming equipment are;

  • Feeders – This is a device used for feed supplying to the birds
  • Waterers – This device is used for supplying water to the birds
  • Nests – Nests are a well-prepared place for chickens to lay eggs.
  • Ventilation system – Odour vents, perforated walls, etc., can serve this purpose
  • Cages – These are boxes used for keeping birds
  • Coops – A chicken coop provides housing for the birds.
  • Incubators – It is a device used to keep eggs warm for hatching.
  • Perches – These are logs you place a little above the chicken house floor for the birds to rest.
  • Brooders or heaters – These provide heat for raising young chicks.
  • Waste disposal system – This mainly helps properly dispose of the waste you produce on your poultry farm.
  • Lighting instruments – This provides light for poultry housing
  • Egg tray – It is used for handling chicken eggs.

Choose the right type of bird for poultry farming in Canada

Poultry farm business owners rear several types of birds. Small poultry farms can start by focusing on about 2 to 3 birds, and after that, you can add more birds.

Several birds are raised on poultry farms, like domestic fowl, chicken, duck, goose, quail, guinea fowl, turkey, pigeon, and peacock. Also, you should determine whether to rear broilers or layers. This is the best choice to start farming for meat or egg production. Chickens raised for egg production are of different breeds than those raised for meat.

There are two main breeds of laying hens in Canada -White Leghorn and Rhode Island Red.

White Leghorns

In case you missed this: How To Start Dairy Farming In Canada.

White Leghorns
White Leghorns (Pic credit: pixabay)

White Leghorn breeds are the most common type of laying hens in Canada. White Leghorns have been used to make highly productive egg-laying hybrids for commercial and industrial operations.

There are many breeds of White Leghorns including Lohman, Shaver, and Babcock breeds.

Babcock breeds – Babcock has white color feathers and lays white eggs. This is a very productive and robust egg layer. This is a high-performance bird with egg quality and excellent livability. Babcock hens are large-sized with good internal and external egg quality.

Lohman – The Lohman Brown breed is a chicken variety raised specifically for egg-laying productivity. These hens lay medium, large, and extra-large brown eggs, laying up to about 300 eggs per year for production.

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red breed is an old pure-line breed of hens. They have brown color feathers and lay brown eggs. It is raised as a dual-purpose breed. A Rhode Island Red will typically lay around 5 to 6 eggs per week. That’s a massive 260 to 300 eggs per year.

How About This: How To Start Dairy Farming In Australia.

Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Red (Image credit: pixabay)

These are some of the most popular chicken breeds for backyard flocks for various reasons. They are perfect for small homesteads and amazing layers of large brown eggs. A well-fed Rhode Island hen can lay 6 to 7 eggs a week.

Some other breeds for poultry farming in Canada

Chantecler – For Canadian climate conditions, this is an ideal dual-purpose bird, reaching about 6-8 lbs and laying approximately 200 to 220 eggs each year. Dual-purpose breeds are birds that can be raised for egg-laying and meat purposes. These are adequate egg layers. The Chantecler is a chicken breed originating in Canada. It is extremely cold-resistant and is mainly suitable for both egg and meat production. They are fairly but do not thrive in confinement, so this breed for free-ranging.

Wyandotte – Wyandottes are cold-hardy. Wyandotte makes excellent setters and mothers.

Basque Chicken – They are mainly found in five color varieties: Lepasoila in naked-necked, red-brown color, Beltza in black, Gorria in red, Marraduna in the golden cuckoo, and Zilarra in black-tailed white color. It has recently become a favorite of homesteaders in Canada. They are ideal for free-ranging and excellent foraging skills. These are medium-sized, with roosters growing as large as 9 pounds. These hens lay about 200 to 220 large brown eggs per year.

Conditions required for poultry farming in Canada

Start a small poultry farm at the beginning

If you are a beginner, don’t start a large-scale poultry farming business. For beginners, you have to start small and then expand gradually as the business grows and the demand for your products increases. You should do a proper feasibility study before you go into the business. There are many other lucrative businesses in the livestock farming industry.

Learn about poultry farming

The primary step to starting a poultry farm is to have some basic training about your business. Without proper training, do not rush to operate the poultry farm. If you are dealing with living poultry birds, know it is a delicate business.

If you do not get the training to care for your poultry birds, it can be costly for the poultry farm business. Many birds can die if you do not know what to do. It is helpful to learn about farming basics to operate your chicken business successfully. You can take a training course, to learn about the breeding of birds. Many agencies are running poultry farming courses for growers. Also, you can consult one farmer to learn a few basic tricks to handle poultry birds.

Set farm location

Location is a key element for your successful poultry farm business. Remember that the location has all the necessary facilities. For having the land and labor at a cheaper cost, then you can build a poultry farm a little away from the town. Usually, poultry birds are housed in wire cages with 2 or 3 animals per cage. Cages for egg-laying birds are found to increase production, lower mortality, lower feeding requirements, reduce diseases and parasites, and reduce space and labor requirements.

Choose your poultry sector

The poultry farming sector is a vast industry. There are mainly two types of farming, i.e., broilers and layers. Broilers are chicken that you raise for meat. Raise chicken for egg production, known as Layers. Then, there is the incubating business for eggs and raising poultry birds.

Usually, chicken farming operates in multiple sectors. Decide to operate in all sectors or to restrict the poultry farm business to just one or two sectors, especially in the beginning.

Following are the different types of poultry farming you can choose from;

  • Meat production (broiler breeding)
  • Egg production (Layers breeding)
  • Poultry feed production
  • Chicken breeding (Hatchery)
  • Egg and meat processing

Feed management for poultry farming in Canada

  • Laying hens need constant access to food and water, and feeders must be distributed evenly. In the semi-intensive system, for higher productivity, poultry birds feed with protein from insects, worms, and larvae, minerals (from stones, grits, and shells), and vitamins from leafy greens and nuts, but energy supplements are important.
  • Raised chicken breeds are fed what is known as a complete feed that includes all the protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for proper growth, egg production, and bird health.
  • Chickens are fed a high-protein starter diet from soon after hatching until about 6 to 8 weeks of age. Then, they are switched to a finisher or developer diet with more energy than protein. All types of beans and peas provide good protein in poultry diets, but they should be processed (roasted or steamed). Raw, unprocessed beans have enzyme inhibitors that interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Soybeans are always processed before being sold as a feed ingredient.
  • Antibiotics and medications can be added to poultry feed for proper growth.

A good feeder should be:

  • Durable enough to withstand frequent cleaning;
  • Also, stable enough not to be knocked over;
  • Of the correct height and depth;
  • Birdproof such that poultry birds cannot get into it or roost in it.

Loan for poultry farming in Canada

Starting up commercial poultry farming in Canada requires huge capital. Thus, if you are planning on largely going into the business, then you have to consider applying for a loan from banks or going to any agricultural organization for assistance.

You can discuss poultry business goals, financial history, and monetary needs with a loan advisor who will help you with the loan application. When you want to meet your bank, you are to go with a poultry business outline, evidence that shows your credit history, or any other thing requested by your bank. It is very important to start with a minimum loan amount and get small equipment and poultry farm products as a test run; later, you can apply for a larger loan when the poultry business grows.

Disease management in poultry farming in Canada

Similar to a house pet, you will want to make sure that you’re vaccinating chickens against disease. So, controlling insect and parasite infestations goes hand-in-hand with cleanliness and vaccinations. Diseases are the main threat in the poultry farming business. Farmers face severe losses due to the spread of several poultry diseases. One of the best methods to prevent the development and spread of diseases is to take good care of the birds. The shelters should be cleaned regularly. Precautions should be taken not to mix contaminated food with regular food.  The birds should be regularly checked for the development of disease symptoms. Vaccination schedules should be properly followed. If an infection is detected, the diseased bird should be immediately separated from other healthy birds to check the spread of the infection.

A dirty environment on your poultry farm will cause many diseases and infections. Mostly poultry birds are very sensitive to environmental changes. If the poultry farm is not properly cared for, the birds will simply be exposed to different kinds of bacteria. You have to keep the poultry farm clean as much as possible. Also, do not allow any visitors into a poultry farm environment.

Market your poultry products

Arrange the finances – It needs a limited capital amount. Funds are required for various purposes, including buying/renting land equipment, hiring staff, birds, and raw materials, managing cash flow, paying salaries, etc. Also, it is helpful to apply for loans from banks and other financial institutions, including government schemes.

Marketing poultry products among the target audience is necessary. Marketing is tricky, and different modes of communication can be employed to make a buzz about your product. Marketing is one of the most important factors that contribute to the success of your business. It is done by making yourself and the poultry business you are dealing with known to your customers. Advertise your poultry business and let them know that you are selling meat or eggs.

Marketing your poultry products is very important because it will help you gain more customers and make more money. You can hire a marketing consultant to help you with the best marketing strategies for business promotion. A good marketing strategy will help to increase the profit from your poultry business. When you sell your poultry products easily, you will be motivated to increase the rate of your production. It is important to have a good marketing strategy for your business, bearing in mind that business will not be profitable if you can’t market your products very well. After marketing, supplying the product to consumers is essential, and consumers can be retailers, shop vendors, wholesale markets, restaurants, etc.


If you live in Canada, this article may help you to understand poultry farming in Canada.


  1. I am a poultry specialist and consulting poultry veterinarian in India. Want to know more about technical job opening in poultry companies in canada


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here