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Broiler chick placings up but liveweights down

graphic of chicken meat

The broiler sector is working hard to make up for lost ground during the lockdowns of 2020.

Total day-old chick numbers in the UK were up by almost 12m in the first four months of this year, a rise of 3% on the same period of 2020.

See also: Poultry revenues up 38.5% at Cranswick

Broiler placings showed an increase in every month but February, with a rise of 3.3m in January, 4.1m in March, and 4.3m in April.

Despite this, production is still lagging behind last year.

Output

Chicken output was down by 16,000 tonnes during January-April compared with the same period of last year, to 583,000t overall.

Production was down by around 3,000t or more in each of the four months, averaging a 3% fall on 2020.

This is partly explained by a matching decline in live weights of the birds arriving at processing plants.

The average liveweight of all birds processed across the first four months of the year dropped from 2,229g to 2,142g, a fall of 4%.

Turkeys

Meanwhile, the UK’s turkey sector, which relies much more on catering in the early part of each year, has been struggling.

Total output was down by 7,000t to 16,400t in the three months from February to April, which amounts to a decline of 30%.

The picture on day-old poult placings is more encouraging. Placings of day-old poults increased by 22,000 in the first four months of this year, a rise of 5%, with the strongest growth in March and April.

This upturn should start to appear in higher production figures in the coming months.