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Between 300-600 chickens without quota?

 
Posts: 19
Location: Toronto, Canada
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So we're starting to raise chickens for ourselves this year - on a modest scale to start with - and I've been digging in to the laws regulating the number of birds.

I see that the "Family Food" program allows up to 300 meat birds for personal use without quota and with simple registration, and the "Artisinal Chicken" program allows 600-3,000 birds for sale/distribution without quota, but with an additional registration/fee on a per-chick basis.

But what about the 300-600 meat bird window? Anyone have any insight?
 
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It depends on your area.  Some provinces have an "at the time" quota and others have a "per year" quota system.

I think BC is a per year and it's 99 poultry.  So long as all my ducks, geese, and chickens (egg or meat) equal 99 birds or less, I don't need a quota.  Other places have 100 birds at a time, so you can raise three or four flocks of 99 in a year and still fall under the quota limit.  

Memory tells me that Ontario is more complicated.  It might be best to ask the licencing board how they apply to you.  
 
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If I remember correctly, it is 100 layers and 300 broilers in Ontario, but it might have changed since I checked last.
 
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I think it is a grey area where you can use either system. personal use for 600chicken is about 2 chicken every single day of the year except Fridays. that might be too much chicken. But even then unless you neighbor reports you, you will be fine. And given that you would only keep each chicken for 4moths tops. Even at 600/yr you shouldn't have more than 300 on premises at any given time.
 
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Hey Mikey,

Don't take what I'm about to say as gospel, since I have not gone through the program myself and I could be wrong.


Before the Artisinal Chicken program, that "no mans land" was 300-quota (~90,000 chickens?). Maybe some farmers had less then that but probably not given the fortune you need to have quota. Essentially, your operations need to accommodate the minimum output, regardless of how many birds you put through.  
The reason for the 300-600 gap is to make a clear regulatory distinction as to what program you belong. Having too many chickens will result in a fine (and possibly other penalties), I don't know if there are consequences for having too few...but if you have between 300-600 you would have to be registered under the Artisinal program and all that entails.


I'm guessing you're not ready for more then 300 meaties any time soon? The regs could even change by the time you are; just make sure you follow everything to the letter. Those chicken and egg boards are not to be messed with :( (unfortunately).
 
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Nicky's pretty much bang on.  You also have to raise all 300 birds in one batch, or at least you did.  I worked with a woman whose husband was an egg inspector.  He'd drive around and nab anyone with more than 99 layers.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were doing spot inspections for pastured broilers.  Don't mess with the quota system.  
 
Nicky McGrath
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You're permitted to raise the chickens in different batches; they keep track of your numbers by how many chicks you buy.

If you're hatching your own you need to self-report. There's more steps involved if you're in the Artisinal program.


(I did a lot of research before I got my chickens! I only have a small flock now, but I have the room to expand if I wanted)


The big grey area for me was where dual purpose chickens fit in (i.e. a heritage slow growing breed raised for meat). But I think if you have a hen up to egg laying age, then it's considered an egg layer. Which I suppose makes sense, since we like to butcher our extra roos by that time anyway.
 
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Hey Mikey!

Look into Mitral Gris as your broiler variety!

I know that at least in B.C. that they are not listed as a broiler breed and therefore aren't counted against the quota as they are classified as a "heritage" or "dual purpose" bird.
 
Nicky McGrath
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Hey Ashley, in Ontario the non-meat bird limit is 100! So better if they're registered as broilers anyway :P
 
Mikey Good
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Thanks all!

Nicky was bang on. I reached out to Sustain Ontario, which did much of the lobbying for the Artisinal Program, and their response (posted with permission):

The gap is definitely intentional. This was a big step for Chicken Farmers of Ontario, no other province has a program like it, so they were addressing a lot of insecurities and unknowns.
CFO wanted a way to guarantee that folks who joined that program were serious. Their members were reassured by the hands-on control of the Artisanal program, and CFO wanted to target their resources for this new program to make sure that those who joined had the best chance to succeed.
The gap was a way to say "if you feel a need to do more than 300 meat hens, show us that you have a market beyond your farm gate, show us that you have guaranteed access to slaughter capacity, and if that's the case, three batches of 200 shouldn't be a challenge."
As to whether there are plans to alter that gap, i doubt it. Right now they're far more concerned about maintaining slaughter capacity for small and mid-sized producers. I don't know how it is in your region, but in eastern Ontario it's a challenge to find reasonably local feather facilities that will take small batches, and they're booking nearly a year in advance.



So, 100 layers at a time, 300 meat birds in a year.

The local feed store tracks (and presumably reports) feed purchases as well as chicks.

Also, sounds like there's a real business opportunity for a small scale slaughterhouse focused on home producers and those in the Artisinal program.

Now we know!
 
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