Livestock and poultry areas

Last updated on July 12, 2021

This page highlights requirements for livestock and poultry areas under the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM Code). 

Confined livestock area or confined poultry area

A confined livestock area or a confined poultry area is an outdoor non-grazing area where livestock or poultry are confined by structures (such as fences) or the land itself. These can include feedlots, paddocks, corrals, exercise yards and holding areas. 

General rules

The following requirements must be met:

  • Make sure that livestock or poultry do not have direct access to a drinking water source or watercourse
  • Manage the accumulation of manure, animal bedding and feed within the area to prevent contaminated runoff, leachate and solids from escaping
  • Collect and contain any contaminated runoff, leachate or solids that escape from the area
  • Prevent contaminated runoff, leachate, solids or air contaminants from entering a watercourse, groundwater or going across a property boundary
  • Ensure confined livestock and poultry areas meet the minimum setbacks

Click the following link for specific rules on:



A feedlot is a type of confined area where livestock are enclosed for the purpose of growing or finishing and are fed by other means than grazing. 

In addition to the general rules, an operator of a feedlot must:

  • maintain the self-sealing layer that forms under the feedlot to prevent leachate from entering groundwater
  • divert runoff away from the feedlot
  • when no longer in use, remove the accumulated manure pack over the self-sealing layer and clean out the pens. Nutrients from the manure pack can then be stored and applied in accordance with the AEM code

High-risk areas

A feedlot with 10 animal units* or more must have a protective base:

* One Animal Unit (AU) is equal to 455 kg (1,000 lb) live weight; 10 AUs is equal to 4,550 kg of livestock or poultry.


Seasonal feeding areas, grazing areas and temporary holding areas

General rules 

The following requirements must be met:

If livestock or poultry have direct access to a watercourse, ensure measures are in place to:

  • minimize trampling and erosion of soil along the watercourse
  • prevent contaminated runoff, manure and solids from entering the watercourse

In addition to the general rules above, click the following areas for more specific requirements:


Grazing areas

A grazing area is a pasture, whether or not confined by structures, or rangeland (that may or may not be fenced) where livestock or poultry feed primarily by directly eating plants growing on that land. 

  • Move livestock from areas that are flooded or where flooding is imminent. 

Seasonal feeding areas

A seasonal feeding area is used for forage or other crop production and used seasonally for feeding livestock or poultry that are also provided supplemental feed.

On-ground feeding locations and mobile feeding bins must:

  • not be located in areas that are flooded or where flooding is likely
  • distributed evenly over the area to prevent the accumulation of manure
  • meet the minimum setbacks

Temporary holding areas 

A temporary holding area is an outdoor holding area on rangeland where livestock are confined by structures while being collected from a grazing area. 

  • Livestock must not be held in the temporary holding area for more than 72 hours


Disclaimer: The information on this page is guidance only. Please refer to the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management for specific regulatory requirements.