Poultry Slaughter in Canada – Numbers

Have you ever wondered how many birds are killed every week in Canada? I personally find this question interesting to better understand the recent societal shift we’re seeing in meat/poultry consumption.

For this analysis, I downloaded the Weekly Poultry Slaughter provided by the Government of Canada, and the Population, total for Canada, provided by The World Bank.

How many birds do we kill every week in Canada?

On average 15 million birds are slaughtered every week in Canada.

In between 1998 and 2017 we killed 13,529,553,065 birds in Canada, including chicken, turkey, ducks and geese.

That’s more than 13 billion birds. That’s a lot of birds. Can you guess which bird is the most popular?

weekly poultry slaughtered in canada

It’s chicken of course! Actually, you can see that 96.2% of all birds killed are chicken. Apparently, Canadians love chicken.

Take a guess: How many birds is an average Canadian consuming every year?

birds killed per canadian.png

  1. An average Canadian ate (assuming we eat most of them) about 21 birds in 2017.
  2. From 2001 to 2012 there was a downtrend of poultry consumption, but it reverted starting in 2013.

Chicken slaughter growth followed population growth:

chicken slaughter canada

2 interesting things that I noted on this chart are:

  1. People seemed to buy less chicken for the thanksgiving-to-Christmas period in the past. My guess is that they switched to Turkey. However, in 2017 people continued to buy chicken at the same rate (at least) during that period.
  2. It seems like there’s a monthly cyclical pattern with a peak and a drop. A guess could be that it represents the lifecycle of chicken. I didn’t confirm this so don’t take my word for it.

And as expected, when we look at the same chart for Turkey we see that it didn’t follow population growth:

turkey slaughter canada

There’s basically no growth in Turkey slaughtered. You can see 3 spikes corresponding to:

  1. Easter
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. Christmas/new year

Are we losing the Turkey tradition? For Easter in 2017 there was a drop in Turkey slaughtered versus previous years. We can see that thanksgiving and Christmas/new year weren’t as strong either.

Since more people are consuming chicken, I was wondering if we kill them younger than we use to. It seems like it could be the case.

mature chicken slaughter canada

In 2000 we use to kill more Mature Chicken, but the trend now is to kill them before they become adult. It seems like we kill less mature chicken (more younger ones?) during the Christmas period during recent years, due to higher demand.


I didn’t go deeper in this analysis but my conclusions are:

  1. We kill about 20 birds per year per Canadian, and 19 are chicken.
  2. Canadians eat less Turkey and more chicken than traditionally for some holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
  3. Canadians are eating more and more chicken since 2013.

Are you surprised of those numbers? Do you think we should consume less poultry, and maybe less meat in general?

1 thought on “Poultry Slaughter in Canada – Numbers”

  1. I’m a meat eater, and chicken is something of a staple, due to the good price. I don’t know how many birds we consume in Britain, but I am guessing it’s a lot, for a nation of under 70 million people.
    Thanks for following my blog, which is appreciated.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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