There’s a Problem With Chicken Fertility

The nation’s largest rooster breeder says failed hatchings are up 2 percent due to a “genetic issue.”

National Journal
Brian Resnick
July 9, 2014, 8:48 a.m.

First a vir­us came for our pork, in­fect­ing pigs with a deadly diarrhea and in­creas­ing su­per­mar­ket prices for the meat na­tion­wide. Now, an­oth­er staple of the Amer­ic­an car­ni­vore is fa­cing a bio­lo­gic­al threat of its own.

There’s a prob­lem with chick­en fer­til­ity.

Re­u­ters re­ports that the Avia­gen Group, the world’s largest chick­en breed­er, “has dis­covered that a key breed of roost­er has a ge­net­ic is­sue that is re­du­cing its fer­til­ity.” The re­port does not in­dic­ate the nature of the ge­net­ic prob­lem. Rather, Avia­gen “has ac­know­ledged that an un­dis­closed change it made to the breed’s ge­net­ics made the birds ‘very sens­it­ive’ to be­ing overfed,” which pre­sum­ably, in turn, de­creases fer­til­ity.

Pre­vi­ously about 15 per­cent of eggs from Avia­gen hens would fail to hatch chicks; now, that fig­ure is 17 per­cent. That in­crease will trans­late to sig­ni­fic­ant im­pacts on the mar­ket, as Avia­gen sires as many as 25 per­cent of the na­tion’s chick­ens. In 2010, U.S. poultry farms pro­duced 36.9 bil­lion pounds of chick­en, which is roughly on the same scale as the mass of con­crete in China’s ter­ri­fy­ingly enorm­ous Three Gorges Dam, and more massive than the great pyr­am­id at Giza. 

This comes at an in­op­por­tune time for the U.S. poultry in­dustry. Due to re­cent hikes in the price of beef and pork, de­mand for chick­en is ex­pec­ted to rise. Chick­en com­pan­ies would typ­ic­ally re­spond to such de­mands by in­creas­ing the num­ber of chick­ens in the mar­ket, Re­u­ters re­ports. With de­creased fer­til­ity, that may not hap­pen. Pro­du­cers are scram­bling to catch up.

“At this point the broil­er in­dustry has yet to make any con­sist­ent strong in­creases in pro­duc­tion,” the Ag­ri­cul­ture De­part­ment’s June poultry pro­duc­tion re­port reads. “Al­though with good do­mest­ic prices, lower feed costs, and fore­casts for price strength in the beef and pork in­dus­tries, the broil­er in­dustry would nor­mally be mov­ing in­to an ex­pan­sion mode.” Slow growth in chick­en pro­duc­tion led the USDA to de­crease this year’s chick­en out­look by 195 mil­lion pounds, which is equal to about the av­er­age yearly chick­en con­sump­tion of 2.3 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans.

What We're Following See More »
DONATING TO FOOD BANKS
Government Buying $20 Million in Cheese
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Thanks to competition from Europe, America's cheese stockpiles are at a 30-year high. Enter the U.S. government, which announced it's buying 11 million pounds of the stuff (about $20 million). The cheese will be donated to food banks.

Source:
BRIEFER THAN TRUMP’S?
Clinton to Receive Classified Briefing on Saturday
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS
FHFA RULES APPLY
Judge: Freddie Mac Doesn’t Have to Open Its Books
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Freddie Mac shareholders cannot force the mortgage finance company to allow them to inspect its records, a federal court ruled Tuesday." A shareholder had asked the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to allow him to inspect its books and records, as Virginia law allows him to do. "The court held that Freddie shareholders no longer possess a right to inspect the company’s records because those rights had been transferred to the Federal Housing Finance Agency when the company entered into conservatorship in 2008."

Source:
MANY BEING TRADED ON BLACK MARKET
Pentagon Can’t Account for 750k Guns Provided to Iraq, Afghanistan
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Pentagon has "provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns." Trouble is, it can only account for about 700,000 of those guns. The rest are part of a vast arms trading network in the Middle East. "Taken together, the weapons were part of a vast and sometimes minimally supervised flow of arms from a superpower to armies and militias often compromised by poor training, desertion, corruption and patterns of human rights abuses."

Source:
SINCE JANUARY
Baltimore Is Spying on Its Residents from the Air
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department" has been using a Cessna airplane armed with sophisticated camera equipment "to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings." The public hasn't been notified about the system, funded by a private citizen.

Source:
×