Chicken rate hits an all-time high in city

Broilers get a cool splash to beat the searing heat this summer.

Broilers get a cool splash to beat the searing heat this summer.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Initial scare following COVID-19 had hit the rearing of chicks

The live bird in retail market was an all-time high at ₹ 165 to ₹170 a kg on Sunday, up from ₹ 135 the previous Sunday. The dressed chicken was sold at ₹ 250 a kg and skinless at ₹ 285 a kg.

The steep increase in cost of chicken was attributed to poultry farmers backing out on placements of broiler chicks for meat production in farms in February - March due to outbreak of coronavirus and wild apprehensions that the virus was the result of animal meat.

It was during this spell that the farmers suffered huge losses as prices of a live bird dropped to ₹ 5 to a kg of its weight while the cost of production was ₹ 80 a kg. Of this amount, the cost of incubating chicken eggs at hatcheries itself was ₹ 26 to 27 per a day-old chick. The day-old chicks were supposed to be sold off to poultry farms within 24 hours for placements over six weeks.

In this background, the farmers resisted purchase of chicks as it was largely a demand - supply market that was influenced by apprehensions on meat consumption. As a result, only 30 per cent of birds against the demand were available in farms in the subsequent weeks after farmers resorted to free distribution, culling of birds and selling at ₹ 5 a kg.

It was this shortage in farms that was telling on the market, according to E. Ramesh Babu, general secretary, Telangana Poultry Breeders Association. He said the farmers did not purchase chicks from hatcheries where also the situation was not bright with managements choosing not to set the eggs for incubation over the stipulated 21 days. The hatcheries even resorted to destruction of eggs.

Mr. Ramesh Babu also said the prices of chicken were generally high in May because the mortality rate of birds was high due to summer and the weight was also less. He added that there was never such shortage in supplies to market in the past. He expected a loss of ₹ 2,000 crore to the industry during the crisis in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

K. Mohan Reddy, general secretary, Telangana Poultry Federation, said the supply was not even 50 per cent of the demand presently.

The supplies used to be two lakh birds on weekdays and four to five lakh on Sundays in Hyderabad and surrounding areas. It was only just now that the farmers were back to rearing chicks.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 3:01:44 PM |

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