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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Percentage of U.S. Flocks Molted

Dec 4, 2011

Don Bel, Poultry Specialist Emeritus of the University California, Riverside has questioned the  accuracy of the October 2011USDA value of 23.3% posted for the number of flocks in the second cycle of production.

According to Bell a typical molt program extends for 70 weeks to 105 weeks at which time the flock is sold.  The 35 week duration of the second cycle represents 41% of the 85 weeks of production from a nominal 21 weeks through 105 weeks.  It is assumed that 60% of flocks are molted and 21.7% of hens are in a second post-molt cycle at any time.

This calculation does not take in to account the non-producing inter-cycle period of approximately 3 weeks.  If molt is initiated at 70 weeks and flocks are depleted at 105 weeks the second production cycle is 33 weeks in duration or 39% of the entire production period extending from 20 week to 105 weeks.  The assumption that 60% of flocks are molted is always speculative and it subject to considerable differences according to region.  The October 2011 value of 24% posted by USDA incorporates a molt value of 42% for the Northwest region but only 7.1% for the Northeast.  Accordingly the assumption that 60% of flocks are molted is generous in the light of current practice as driven by feed cost and the supply-demand relationship. 

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