What are hatcheries?
Canadian hatcheries play an essential role in our country’s poultry and egg supply chain.
These hatcheries receive fertilized chicken and turkey eggs from hatching egg farms. These eggs are incubated, vaccinated against common poultry diseases, and hatched. Once hatched, the new chicks and poults are delivered to farms to be raised for chicken and turkey meat production or sent to egg farms for egg production.
Supporting safe, nutritious food for Canadians
Canadian hatcheries are proud of their work to provide safe and nutritious food for Canadians. Canadian hatcheries follow strict, independently audited, evidence-based animal welfare standards that are regularly updated and are amongst the best in the world.
This includes the Canadian Hatchery Federation’s animal welfare program which is developed based on the National Farm Animal Council’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens, and Turkeys. As of July 1, 2023 all Canadian Hatchery Federation members must conduct annual audits under this program.
In the past decade, Canadian hatcheries have made commitments toward responsible stewardship of antibiotics of high importance for human health. Preventative use of category 1 antibiotics was discontinued in 2014 and preventative use of category 2 antibiotics was discontinued in 2019.
Hatching benefits for Canada’s economy
Canada’s hatchery operators are responsible for approximately 850 million chicks and poults each year.
To meet the needs of Canadian broiler growers, egg laying operations, and ultimately processors and consumers, hatchery members source hatching eggs for incubation both domestically and internationally. Close to 79% of the broiler hatching eggs hatched in Canada are purchased from Canadian broiler hatching egg producers.
Egg-type and turkey hatcheries are different as most of them own their own breeder flocks that produce fertilized eggs. No border controls exist for these commodities and our members have been increasing export sales in recent years.
This activity directly employs 2,500 Canadian workers, and represents an investment in plant and equipment of approximately $250 million. The value of these chicks when sold to producers will be in excess of $310 million.
Our work on behalf of Canada’s hatcheries
Canada’s hatchery sector is represented by the Canadian Hatchery Federation. Our members include 49 broiler, egg-type and turkey hatcheries in nine provinces which are responsible for almost 95% of chicks and poults placed in Canada each year.
The Canadian Hatchery Federation operates under the umbrella of Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors. Our work on behalf of Canada’s hatcheries includes:
- Ensuring high animal welfare standards are set and met, including creating an animal welfare program and setting auditing requirements
- Advocating to CFIA on behalf of hatcheries on proposed regulatory changes
- Addressing trade-related issues affecting the hatchery sector by regularly engaging with CFIA and Global Affairs Canada
- Supporting member knowledge, providing learning opportunities on the latest technology
Want to know more about the Canadian Hatchery Federation?
Check out Canadian Hatchery Federation members or contact our Director, Nik Zylstra at email@example.com.