Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) has approved a new program to support the increasing Ontario consumer demand for alternative breeds of chicken. The new program will create exciting opportunities for the specialty chicken value chain -- hatcheries, farmers, distributors and retailers of specialty breeds of chicken -- to support current and emerging consumer markets.

CFO's specialty breeds chicken program was developed to bring Ontario into alignment with the national Chicken Farmers of Canada specialty breeds policy. The new program specifies that two common breeds of specialty chicken will now be included under this program: Frey's special dual purpose chickens and Silkie chicken. These breeds are processed with "head and feet on" and are popular with many of Ontario's growing ethnocultural consumer communities.

"We are extremely pleased to offer this innovative specialty breeds chicken program which will provide a significant growth opportunity for the Ontario chicken industry," said Henry Zantingh, chairman of CFO. "Ontario's demographics are changing rapidly and the demand for different types of chicken has been growing as well."

"While Silkies and Frey's special dual purpose chicken breeds have been available for sale in Ontario for some time, the market for these products has been underdeveloped," noted Rob Dougans, president and CEO of CFO. "Providing business opportunities for those interested in meeting these markets will better serve specialty breed consumers and create new growth opportunities for the Ontario chicken industry."


Under the new system, those interested in becoming a specialty breeds program chicken farmer will submit an application to CFO for the opportunity to grow a certain allotment of chicken.  Farmers and processors and other value chain partners involved in marketing specialty breeds chicken will receive the benefits of operating under a new regulated system.

CFO will be holding information briefing sessions for individual farmers and industry value chain participants in communities across Ontario in the near future and applications for growing specialty breed chicken are now being accepted for 2015.