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Poultry Business in Ontario

Many farmers choose poultry over other types of livestock, raising turkey and chicken for meat and eggs. To start a business in Ontario, you will need to learn about housing and feeding, disease prevention, and other aspects of raising livestock. You will also need to secure financing and market your produce.

Choose Type of Livestock and Sector

You can choose from different types of birds such as turkey, guinea fowl, quail, duck, layers, broilers, and goose. Start with one or two bird species and then include other types as your business expands. There are also different sectors to look into, for example, meat and egg processing, hatchery, and layers and broilers breeding. Other options include equipment manufacturing, feed production, meat and egg marketing and packaging, and consultancy and marketing.

Disease Prevention

It is important to prevent rodents from entering your enclosures as they kill chicken, damage feed, and spread diseases. Make sure that you keep livestock in clean enclosures to prevent mixing with wildlife birds. Diseases to watch for include behavioral, parasitic, infectious, and nutritional and metabolic diseases. There are a number of infectious diseases that spread from one bird to another, including fowl cholera, avian tuberculosis, infectious bronchitis, and avian influenza.


You will also need proper housing for your chicken or turkeys as they may fall prey to rats, dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. Good insulation is also a must during the winter season. As manure releases ammonia, you need to ensure good ventilation as well.

Check different types of housing to choose the one that suits you best. Common systems include intensive, semi intensive, and extensive.


To secure financing for your poultry business, you will need a detailed plan. Include sections such as objectives, products and markets, current status and history, and mission statement. Your financial institution will want to look at details such as development and operational expenses, scope of operations, and sales and marketing forecasts.

Sources of Financing

You will need money to buy land and equipment such as brooders, heaters, incubators, perches, drinkers, and feeders. One option is to apply for a loan under the Canada Small Business Financing Program. Eligible expenses include registration fees, improvements made to leased property, and purchase of equipment, buildings, and land. Hundreds of credit unions and banks participate in the program, among which Servus Credit Union Limited, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Toronto-Dominion Bank. Another option is to apply for a business loan or line of credit with your current provider. There are different types of financing based on required amount - see, repayment term, and your business’s cash flow, including shareholder and partner capital loans, leveraged finance, and asset-based lending. Real estate financing is also available and can be used toward industrial and commercial construction and land development. Loans are also offered to finance business transfers and purchases, equipment purchases, and commercial real estate. An equipment purchase loan, for example, can be used to cover costs such as training, installation, and shipping expenses. Working capital financing is available as well to pay expenses associated with marketing campaigns - see how to get secured credit card easy, product development, and expansion into new markets. Commercial real estate loans can be used for renovation and expansion of facilities, construction, and the purchase of buildings and land.


Poultry Industry

Poultry farmers in Canada raise livestock for different markets, including exports, frozen food producers, butchers, and grocery stores. Most farms are family-owned, small enterprises, with over 2,800 businesses operating across Canada.

Types of Poultry

Common livestock includes chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys that are raised for eggs and meat. Farmers raise two types of chicken for eggs – Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorn. When it comes to poultry meat, chicken is by far a preferred choice of Canadian consumers, and consumption has considerably increased /almost doubled/ over the last two decades.

Farms by Province

Provinces with the most chicken farms include Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. Over 60 percent of chicken or close to 1.3 billion kilograms is produced in Ontario and Quebec alone. Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia have the largest number of turkey producers while there are no farms in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. Egg producers are mainly concentrated in Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta.

The provinces with the most chicken slaughter plants are Quebec (10) and Ontario (10), all being subject to federal inspection. British Columbia has the highest number of chicken slaughter plants (35) that are provincially inspected. There are also broiler hatching egg producers, egg grading stations, lying egg hatcheries, and broiler stock hatcheries.

Boards and Agencies

The production of meat and eggs is regulated by Agricultural Marketing Boards at the provincial level and under the Agricultural Products Marketing Act at the federal level. The provincial boards are tasked with deducting levies, advertising, and setting prices and quotas. Federal agencies, on the other hand, control export and import, eliminate surpluses, and set quotas for the provinces.

As a national agency, Chicken Farmers of Canada oversees the trade of chicken and compliance with set quotas. The agency is also tasked with the development and implementation of programs which help ensure that high quality chicken are raised. The goal is to ensure that meat is always fresh, of high quality, and safe. The programs developed by the agency set safety requirements, including such on water and feed testing and management, disease prevention, and biosecurity. The two mandatory programs are the On-Farm Food Safety and Animal Care Programs under which producers are subject to annual audits.


Canadian producers export over 35 million of geese, ducks, turkeys, fowl, poults, guinea fowl, and chicken to 29 countries. The United States is Canada’s main market, others being Taiwan, Germany, China, and Brazil. Producers export live birds as well as fat, sausages, meat, prepared meals, and cuts. The main markets for frozen, chilled, and fresh chicken bi-products are the U.S., Taiwan, and the Philippines. Canada exports bi-products to 56 countries.

Turkey bi-products and meat are exported to a total of 37 countries, major markets being the United States, South Africa, Benin, and Cuba. In Canada, 80 percent of turkey meat is sold during holidays (Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving).

The main markets for processed eggs are the U.S., Russia, and Germany, with over 1,170 egg farms operating in Canada.

Domestic Consumption

Fast food restaurants are the largest market for chicken meat (24 percent), followed by full service establishments (11 percent). In 2018, institutions and hotels accounted for just 5 percent or 69 million kilograms.

Processed eggs are bought by institutions, hotels, processors, and retailers. Processors use eggs to produce a variety of items, including adhesives, pet food, shampoo, noodles, mayonnaise, and baked items.

Processors produce yolks, albumen, and whole eggs as well as products such as patties, hard cooked eggs, and scrambled egg mix.


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