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Family Food FAQs

The Family Food program registers grower’s flocks and promotes bird health and disease management, while enhancing education and communication opportunities. Registration of all Family Food Growers is an important aspect of CFO’s emergency management plan as it allows for rapid identification of small flock locations in addition to commercial flock locations.
The Family Food Program permits a person to produce and market no more than 300 meat birds per premise, per calendar year. Meat birds are grown primarily for home consumption.  In addition, growers are permitted to have a total of 100 egg laying hens on their premise.  For information on the regulations for egg laying hens, please contact Egg Farmers of Ontario at
No. The 300 meat bird limit and the 100 layer limit is per person, per calendar year.
No. Only 300 chickens for meat consumption and 100 layer chickens may be grown per location. Once a premise has been used to grow the maximum allowed, it cannot be used again by any person to grow chicken in the calendar year.
A Family Food grower is permitted to sell their chicken at their farm-gate only. Sales and marketing of chicken off-farm is not permitted. Chicken can only be sold to customers who attend the farm and purchase the chicken for their personal consumption.
No. Sales and marketing of chicken off-farm is not permitted. Chicken can only be sold to customers who attend the farm and purchase the chicken for their personal consumption.
When a chick order is placed in Ontario, the Broker Dealer or Hatchery will register the grower in the program. If birds were not purchased in Ontario, or were self-hatched, please complete the request form found under Registration, Family Food Grower. A Form 300 will be emailed to you within two business days.
No. Presently, there are no administrative or service fees required.
The Form 300 is confirmation that the grower is registered with the Family Food Program. A physical copy of the Form 300 must be provided to the grower, at the time of purchase of the chicken, for submission to custom processors. If a Form 300 is not presented to the custom processor, the custom processor may not process the chicken. 
Yes. All Provincially licenced processors require a Form 300 from all growers.  For birds not purchased in Ontario, or self-hatched, please contact the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) to obtain a Family Food Program registration number and Form 300.
  • Biosecurity is a term given to the practice of protecting the entry of diseases or viruses to your farm
  • Ensure that you do not bring contaminants to your chickens
    • Avoid contact with other birds, poultry
    • Wash hands, change boots and clothing before doing your daily chores
    • Restrict the number of people who have access to your flock
  • Prevent contact with wild birds and other animals
    • Feed and water should be protected from access by wild birds
    • Ensure rodents cannot access stored or spilled feed
  • Clean between flocks
    • Bacteria and viruses can live in the pens, soil and range area the chickens lived in after they have left
      • Wash and disinfect or allow for a period of downtime before repopulating
    • Eliminate rodents as they can harbour diseases
    • Dispose of any dead chickens promptly
    • Give new flocks fresh bedding
  • Observe the flock for abnormal behaviour or appearance
  • Signs
    • alert and active
    • once fully feathered, feathers should appear smooth and orderly. Rough feathers may occur during dust bathing but will return to a normal appearance once the activity has ended
    • eyes will appear round and clear
    • nostrils should be open and clean
    • wings close to the body. Birds will raise their wings to cool themselves during periods of high heat.
    • dry vent area
    • comb should be red
    • shanks (legs) should be fleshy
  • Signs
    • lack of energy, movement or appetite;
    • decreased egg production;
    • rough feathering
    • runny eyes
    • swelling around the head, neck and eyes;
    • coughing, gasping for air or sneezing;
    • nervous signs, tremors or lack of coordination;
    • diarrhea; or
    • sudden death
  • Your first call should be to your vet. If the vet is not familiar with chickens, they can reach out to a poultry vet or the Animal Health Lab in Guelph.
  • Call the CFO Disease Hotline at 1.877.767.2973 even if you just suspect a disease
    • You will be contacted by CFO Farming Representative that will assist you
  • Restrict access to the property
  • Isolate the chickens from other livestock, chickens, wild birds and waterfowl
  • Give your vet, CFIA, and OMAFRA permission to share information with CFO for the purpose of disease management
  • Under the Health of Animals Act, the CFIA may compensate owners for animals and things ordered destroyed during disease response situations. Compensation awards are based on market value, up to the maximum amounts established by the regulations.