THE mini-boom in broiler chick placings since the start of this year has run out of steam through the mid-summer period.

Up until June, day-old placings has shown a substantial increase on both 2020 and 2019 in every month except February (see chart).

See also: Labour shortages prompt fears for future of British turkeys

Overall during the first six months, chick numbers were up by 23.6m on the same period of last year, or 4%.

However, this has been followed by a drop in July and August totalling 8m chicks, an average year-on-year fall of 4%.

Allowing for the grow-out period, UK production of chicken has yet to catch up with this trend.

Output in August was up on last year for the fourth successive month.


According to Defra figures, chicken output rose by 8% year-on-year in June, 13% in July, and 10% in August.

Overall this year, production was up by 30,000t, amounting to an average of 2.6%.

It can be expected that production will start to reflect the lower placings from September’s figures onwards.

The turkey sector has also had a disappointing summer.

Although poult placings are on a par with those last year, they are still significantly down on the summer of 2019.

Compared with two years earlier, poult numbers in June, July and August combined were down by 1.2m or 19%.