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Day-Old Chick Prices Soar in China


The price of day-old chicks in China is a reflection of market demand for white-feathered broilers.  During the past twelve months, the price of chicks has increased three-fold reflecting an imbalance between supply and demand. The broiler industry in China is fragmented with numerous hatcheries supplying day-old chicks to independent growers in addition to companies with integrated multiplication, grow-out and processing facilities. 


Supply was restricted following disruption in the import of grandparent stock necessary to maintain an adequate supply of day-old chicks by hatcheries.  A decline in demand for white-feathered broilers in late 2021 was attributed a reduction in the price of pork, the preferred protein in China as African swine fever was controlled and demand was constrained by restrictions to suppress COVID. Travel bans reduced the frequency of commercial air flights to China, limiting the volume of shipments of grandparent stock. Outbreaks of avian influenza in the U.S. and the E.U. resulted in unjustified bans on importation, disrupting placement schedules.


The current embargo on imports from all U.S. states other than Alabama is a self-inflicted wound.  Major breeders have qualified for compartment status in accordance with WOAH regulations. Shipments of grandparent stock would not have represented any risk of introduction of avian influenza that, in any event, is endemic in China.  The two major broiler breeders have established hatcheries in New Zealand permitting airfreight of grandparent stock from a nation free of most avian diseases.


The Government of China encouraged the poultry industry to become independent of the U.S. and the E.U. with respect to broiler breeding stock.  A major domestic breeder in China has imported great-grandparent level broiler stock but efforts to produce and market a national strain with the genetic potential equivalent to the strains offered by the major breeders has yet to be accomplished.

Copyright © 2023 Simon M. Shane