Urban Agriculture Business Information Bundle

Poultry

Poultry are one of the most popular choices for urban producers who want to raise livestock. Chickens and ducks can be a source of eggs, meat or both; turkeys and gamebirds are raised for meat.

None require a lot of space (see the National Farm Animal Care Council's Code of Practice for Chickens' Turkeys and Breeders from Hatchery to Processing Plant). However, the right nutrition is critical for proper growth and egg production. For details, see OMAFRA's Introduction to Poultry Nutrition.

If backyard poultry are permitted, be sure to follow good biosecurity practices to prevent the transmission of diseases like avian influenza. Poultry can be noisy, so if you have neighbours nearby, avoid roosters and opt for quieter species of birds. Odour and flies need to be addressed with proper manure management, while feed should be stored securely to avoid infestations of rats and mice.

Poultry are often a prey species for foxes, skunks, raccoons, cats, dogs and rats, so proper penning and housing will be required. If birds are to be kept over the winter, they will need a properly insulated building that will provide protection from the elements, enough heat to keep the birds comfortable and proper ventilation to remove the ammonia that will be generated by the manure. Visit these resources for information and check local building codes before building a poultry structure that has insulation and ventilation for our climate.

Building plans from Mississippi State Extension Service:

Backyardchickens.com

Small Flock Housing Plans

On-site disposal of poultry mortalities may be problematic in urban settings. For more information, see deadstock disposal.

Associations

Provincial Poultry Associations

Biosecurity

OMAFRA's Biosecurity Recommendations for Small Flock Poultry Owners
OMAFRA's Keeping Your Birds Healthy Resource Kit
Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Bird Health Basics: How to Prevent and Detect Disease in Backyard Flocks and Pet Birds

General Resources

Backyard Poultry Magazine
Canadian Agri-Food Research Council's Recommended Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Chickens, Turkeys and Breeders
Canadian Agri-Food Research Council's Recommended Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Poultry Layers

Raising Chickens

Urban Farm Online's Chicken Keeping

Raising Ducks

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Managing a Small Duck Flock

OMAFRA's Gamebirds page

Raising Turkeys

OMAFRA's Basic Husbandry for Turkeys


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 28 January 2011
Last Reviewed: 12 February 2016