Ministry of Agriculture & Lands
The poultry population in British Columbia is diverse, and ranges from small flocks kept on small lots for personal use to large, mainstream commercial production. Many different types of poultry are kept in every area of British Columbia.
It is estimated that there are as many as 10,000 small flocks in the Fraser Valley alone. Many of these flocks are kept for egg production and fresh eggs are sold directly to customers at farm gate. It has been estimated that as much as 3% of egg consumption is from such small flocks. Others keep varieties of chickens, turkeys, waterfowl, and other poultry species for the enjoyment of breeding and showing these birds.
The largest volume of poultry is in commercial production. These are the birds that are kept to supply us with eggs and meat. Most commercial poultry is within a supply-managed system that ensures an adequate supply of eggs and chicken to meet the demands of BC’s population. The four sectors included under supply management are broiler chickens (chicken meat), broiler hatching eggs (producing fertile eggs that are hatched to supply the broiler chicken farms), turkey, and table egg layers.
A significant amount of specialty production also happens under supply management. For example, silkie chickens are grown to meet a specialty market for that meat bird. Similarly, a special type of bird for the Asian market, referred to as Taiwanese Chicken, is also grown under the supply managed system.
Other specialty birds, including such species as pheasant, squab, ducks, and geese, are not within a supply managed scheme. These birds are grown to meet the demand from a specialty market, but are subject to the economic swings associated with rising and falling supply and demand.
Commercial chicken and egg production happens primarily in the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan, and Vancouver Island. Most specialty bird production is in the Fraser Valley. Small flocks can be found virtually in any inhabited location in BC.