Poultry & Eggs

Poultry and egg production in New Brunswick is part of the supply management system. Currently, 35 producers in New Brunswick hold quota to produce broilers (meat birds) for commercial sale (chicken farmers of New Brunswick). In total, New Brunswick farmers produce 35 million/kilos/year (about 3% of Canadian total).

Those wishing to raise poultry without a quota license can only do so if their flock is no larger than 199 birds (this is true for both broilers and egg-laying hens). Quota prices for broilers range, and depend largely on negotiations between buyer and seller. Quota for egg-laying hens costs in the neighbourhood of $100/bird and allows the producer to sell all the eggs from that bird at a price set by the provincial marketing board. 83% of commercial broiler production in the province is concentrated in the North-Western region (Madawaska area), while the rest are mostly in the Moncton and surrounding area (South-Eastern region).

Most poultry is sent to the Nadeau Abattoir in Clair, NB (North Western NB). There is one provincially inspected, on farm abattoir located in South Branch (South-Eastern NB) that slaughters chickens from on farm as well as neighbouring farms.

The majority of the producers in the province use a confinement based method of production, where birds are kept in a large barn without access to outdoors . Currently, there is only a handful (7) of certified organic livestock producers in the province, however, there are several that use organic or holistic management practices .

To locate them use the Eat Well Guide, or check out the closest farmers market in your area and ask the producers about their products first-hand.

Some of the major challenges for raising poultry on an organic or pasture-raised system in New Brunswick include obtaining certified organic laying feed as it is very expensive and difficult to find, given that there is very little organic grain grown in the region. In terms of marketing, “The major food retailers are moving towards purchasing all of their eggs at one point from a source that can supply the entire region with a particular product. Recently, smaller producers have seen their market disappear overnight as wholesalers discontinue local purchase in favour of a source that could supply the entire region"