Poultrymeat production has dropped in the first two months of this year, when compared with 2022.
Broiler chick placings during January and February combined were down by 3m, or nearly 1.5%, compared with the same period in 2022, according to Defra figures.
At the same time, turkey poults fell by 225,000, or nearly 11%, compared with January-February a year earlier.
In both sectors, these are the lowest Jan-Feb totals since before the onset of Covid, and reflect a deepening lack of confidence caused by inflationary pressures and worries about avian influenza.
The same pattern has been repeated over the past six months and 12 months, where day-old turkey numbers were down by 10% year-on-year over both periods.
Although broiler numbers staged a brief recovery during the second half of 2022, they were still down by 1m over the last six months and by 5m over 12 months (to 1180m).
That late-year rally has translated into a rise in overall chicken meat production in the first two months of this year, amounting to 2,600 tonnes compared with a year earlier, or almost one per cent.
However, looking back over a longer period, chicken output is down 22,000 tonnes over six months, and 38,000 tonnes over the 12 months from March to February (to 1.76mt).
During that period, average slaughter weights have fluctuated up and down slightly, but there has been little overall change.
The average liveweight in the six months from August to February was down by just 10g per bird.
Total poultrymeat output in the first two months of this year was pulled down by falls in the other poultry sectors, and fell by 5,000 tonnes to 331,000t (carcase weight).