What is quota?

Quota is an amount of chicken, expressed in live weight, that a grower may produce every eight weeks. The actual amount of kilograms that will be produced is determined by the Board. Each bird produced in British Columbia represents 1.929 kilograms of live weight.

What is Primary Quota?

Primary Quota is any class of the regulated product except specialty and is not raised or used for egg production. It includes mainstream chicken. It is expressed in quota in units for the production and marketing of chicken allotted by the Board in respect of registered premises. Mainstream Chicken is chicken that is not specialty chicken and includes regular broilers, roasters, or cornish derived from a commercially available broiler chicken stock, including without limitation, Hubbard ISA, Cobb Vantress, or Ross Breeders.

I only grow about 30 or 40 chickens a year. Can I sell some of them to my friends or at a farmer’s market?

Yes, if you have a permit. You may apply to the BCCMB for a permit to grow and sell up to 2000 chickens per year. This permit requires you to pay a $20 permit fee and must be renewed annually. Because you are growing chicken for sale, you are subject to the BCCMB General Orders and the BC Meat Inspection Regulations.

Are hormones or steroids used to make chickens grow bigger and faster?

No, the use of hormones and steroids in the production of chicken is illegal, and has been since the 1960’s.

Are Antibiotics given to chickens raised for meat?

The use of antibiotics in Canadian agriculture is heavily regulated. As in human health, antibiotics are used if a flocks’ health is at risk.  All antibiotics must be approved for use by Health Canada or by direction of a veterinary prescription.  Farmers must follow strict protocols on withdrawal periods to ensure residues do not enter the food chain.

The responsible use of antibiotics has always been key to Chicken Farmers’ of Canada’s On-farm Food Safety Program, which is a mandatory program in all Canadian provinces and has received full federal, provincial and territorial government recognition.  This program has been around more than 10 years.  All commercial chicken farmers in BC are certified under this program and are audited every year.

You can read more in-depth information about antibiotics on the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s Antibiotics page.

What is the poultry industry doing to reduce the use of antibiotics?

In 2010, all Canadian poultry sectors developed an antibiotic strategy to control, monitor and reduce the use of antibiotics.  Some of Chicken Farmers of Canada’s activities so far include:

  1. Adopting a policy to eliminate any preventive use of Category I antibiotics by May 15, 2014.
  2. Working collaboratively with the federal government, through the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance.
  3. Providing government researchers access to our farms so that we can understand what’s happening and to work together to develop solutions.
  4. Funding research into alternatives, such as enhanced biosecurity & management practices, vaccine use and new feed additives such as probiotics or essential oils.


I’ve heard the terms ‘free range’, ‘free run’, and ‘organic free range’ to describe types of chicken. Are all of these regulated by the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board?

Free Range means that the bird has access to the outdoors.  Due to weather in Canada, the free range season is short.

Free Run means that a bird is able to move freely throughout the barn and is not confined in a cage.  All chickens grown in Canada for meat purposes are free run.

Organic chickens are birds raised using certified organic feed and fresh, untreated drinking water.  The Certified Organics Association of BC (COABC) also requires growers to allow their birds access to pesticide free pasture for a minimum of 6 hours a day, weather permitting.  These chickens may have started out as conventional chicks.  A list of all certified organic producers can be found on the COABC website at http://www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca

Yes, all chicken which is grown and marketed in BC is regulated. A licensed grower may grow the type of bird that he/she has quota for. All chicken grown for meat in BC are free run, they are not grown in cages. For definitions of these terms, please see BC Chicken Producution

How can I get a license to grow chicken?

To get a licence to grow chicken you must either obtain quota, or apply for a permit under Part 51 of the General Orders.