Small Lot Farms & Backyard Flocks

Egg Farming in BC

There are three classifications of egg farming in BC: Backyard Flock Producers, Small Lot Producers, and Registered Producers.

Backyard Flock Producers: Farmers with 0-99 hens

No quota or registration is required for Backyard Flock Producers as long as the number of hens does not exceed 99. Every municipality has different rules regarding backyard chickens, so be sure to check your local bylaws. For information on selling ungraded eggs, click here.

 

Small Lot Producers: Farmers with 100-399 hens

To become a Small Lot Producer, simply register through the Small Lot Program. Small Lot Producers do not require quota.

 

Registered Producers: Farmers with 400+ quota hens

To become a registered producer, you must be issued quota from the BC Egg Marketing Board.

Becoming a Registered Producer in BC

There are three ways to obtain quota and become a Registered Producer:

  1. Purchase through the Quota Exchange
    A Quota Exchange is conducted multiple times a year and provides registered producers with a chance to sell some of his/her quota if they choose.  Notice of a pending Quota Exchange is published on the BC Egg website (click here) at least 21 days in advance of the date on which the Quota Exchange is to be held.  The process is held in accordance with Part VI of the Consolidated Order (click here to view).
  2. Purchase a Going Concern Sale
    When a registered producer wants to sell their farm and quota, it is conducted through a Going Concern Sale.  This process can occur any time of the year and is not posted on our website.
  3. Win a New Producer Program draw
    For more information on the New Producer Program, please click here.

Small Lot Program

The Small Lot Program is a permit program for unregistered producers/farmers who keep between 100 and 399 laying hens that produce organic eggs, heritage breed eggs, free-range eggs or free-run eggs.

 

All producers/farms who have between 100 and 399 laying hens should register with BC Egg through the Small Lot Program. There is an annual permit fee of $250 which includes:

  • A visit from BC Egg to provide program and standard information
  • A Salmonella Enteritidis (Se) test

Please note you must be at least 19 years of age to apply for a Small Lot permit. This program is open to any number of participants.

 

To apply for a Small Lot permit, please fill out the application form and submit it with payment to Scott Miles, Operations Assistant at BC Egg.

  • To download a pdf version of the form to fill out manually, please click here

To renew your existing Small Lot permit, please fill out the renewal form and submit with payment to Scott Miles, Operations Assistant.

 

Preventing Avian Influenza and Enhancing Food Safety 

Just as with larger farms, Small Lot farmers are required to maintain specific standards of food safety and biosecurity. This is especially critical during peak migratory season when wild birds mix with domestic flocks, or during periods of high risk of disease spread.

 

With the current risk of Avian Influenza, it is recommended that all poultry farmers maintain a Red Biosecurity Status.

 

Please click here to review what this means for your farm.

Biosecurity for Small Farms

The following biosecurity and food safety guides are additional resources designed specifically for small lot production.

Flock Health & Biosecurity Resources

Food Safety & Farm Management Resources

Selling Ungraded Eggs

Unless a farmer sends his/her eggs to a grading station, the eggs produced on small lot farms are considered “ungraded” and BC has strict rules and laws surrounding the sale of ungraded eggs. Please see our Selling Ungraded Eggs page for more information.

Appendix III in the following document provides guidelines for the sale of eggs at farmers’ markets:

 

 

For more information on the Small Lot Program, please contact Scott Miles, Operations Assistant,  at the BC Egg office.

 

Updated September, 2022

What To Do If You Suspect Your Flock Has AI

Avian Influenza (AI) is a respiratory disease that affects all types of birds. Wild birds are most often the carriers of the disease and while they can get sick or die from it, they usually carry it asymptomatically. Domesticated birds, including farm birds and pets, get very ill from AI. There is no treatment and most domesticated birds die from AI within 48 hours of catching it.

If you suspect AI, have an unexplained increase in mortality or onset of clinical signs of disease in your poultry flock, here is a general guideline to assist you.

Backyard Flocks

  1. Immediately leave the barn without removing mortality or any other items from the barn. Limit contact with all poultry on the farm.
  2. In order to prevent the spread of the AI virus, maintain your barn ventilation at minimum levels to ensure bird welfare.
  3. Gather all relevant documents including health records of all flocks currently on the farm and flock movement history.
  4. Call the Animal Health Centre (604-556-3003) and speak to one of the poultry veterinarians. They will help determine if further investigation is required. Have ready a complete description of the problem including time of onset, duration, whether things are getting worse or resolving over time.
  5. All movement to and from the farm must stop.
  6. Cease selling all products off the farm.

Registered Producers & Small Lot Permit Holders

  1. Immediately leave the barn without removing mortality or any other items from the barn. Limit contact with all poultry on the farm.
  2. In order to prevent the spread of the AI virus, maintain your barn ventilation at minimum levels to ensure bird welfare.
  3. Gather all relevant documents including health records of all flocks currently on the farm and flock movement history.
  4. Call your veterinarian. They will help determine if further investigation is required. Have ready a complete description of the problem including time of onset, duration, whether things are getting worse or resolving over time.
  5. All movement to and from the farm must stop.
  6. Cease selling all products off the farm.

Wild Bird Mortality

If a wild bird is found dead on or near a poultry operation, call the Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Program hotline, 1-866-431-2473.  If the report is assessed to require further investigation a biologist may retrieve the carcass for further testing.

 

If AI is Confirmed by Veterinarian

  1. CFIA will be informed and will send the sample to their lab in Winnipeg for final testing.
  2. You will be contacted by CFIA and put on quarantine. CFIA will inform you of the next steps.

Signs of AI

  • signs may not be obvious
  • egg production drop
  • respiratory illness
  • nervous signs
  • diarrhea
  • drop in feed or water consumption (consult production records)
  • mortality (variable)

 

For a brief overview of Avian Influenza and why it’s a concern, visit our article “Avian Influenza: A Primer.

Welcome to the Small Lot Sunny Side Up

The “Sunny Side Up” is our newsletter dedicated to Small Lot Permit holders and the unique challenges and farming issues they face. BC Egg sends out the “Sunny Side Up” periodically to all Small Lot Permit holders to provide policy updates and to share information useful to them as Small Lot egg producers in BC.

Current Issue

Protect Your Flock by Learning About Avian Influenza

If you have chickens, ducks, turkeys or other poultry, this FREE online info session is for you!

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is hosting an online information session on how YOU can protect your flock from Avian Influenza. Learn about AI, how it’s affecting the country, and what you can do to keep your birds safe. Two online sessions are scheduled and all are welcome to attend.

For those in Northern BC, the session on November 30 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm will address concerns in your area. For the rest of BC, please join us on Monday, December 5 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. To register, please click here and select the virtual session you wish to attend.

Issue 15 – November 23, 2022

Moving to Red Biosecurity

Enhanced Biosecurity for Small Lot Farms: What it Means to Move to “Red”

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is moving quickly across North America. Generally, the path of HPAI has followed wild bird migratory patterns who are known carriers of the HPAI pathogen. The first flocks impacted by HPAI were located on the east coast and since that time the virus has been found throughout poultry flocks making its way to the west. Two days ago we received notice of three confirmed HPAI cases in flocks located in Olds, Alberta. This disease is highly contagious among poultry and results in extremely high mortality rates. The risk of your flock contracting the virus can be lessened through careful implementation of strict biosecurity protocols.

Due to the rapid spread of HPAI the BC Poultry Association is recommending an immediate move to Red Biosecurity Status. This is the most rigorous level of biosecurity standards and is necessary to help slow the spread of HPAI. Please review Enhanced Biosecurity Guidelines for Small Lot Producers – Red to learn what this move means to your farm. This document and additional biosecurity resources are available on our Small Lot Farms webpage.

Our actions today can help prevent HPAI taking hold in BC. Be sure to follow all the biosecurity recommendations and always err on the side of caution. When the risk has lessened and the Biosecurity status is changed a follow up message will be sent.

 

Issue 7 – April, 2022

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Small Lot Sunny Side Up

2020

Small Lot Sunny Side Up