Little baby chicks

The global bird flu epidemic has caused a shortage of chicks in China

China is facing a shortage of chicks as a result of the avian influenza epidemic that has been affecting poultry populations worldwide. With a huge number of poultry having to be exterminated, the United States alone has seen 58 million birds slaughtered in just over a year. As the world’s second-largest producer of poultry, China is feeling the effects of the shortage acutely.

Since the beginning of this year, chick prices in China have been steadily rising, risking inflation from rising food prices and undermining the country’s efforts to ensure food security. China, the world’s largest market, is highly reliant on imports of commercial white-haired chickens, which account for more than half of China’s chicken production.

This week, chicks from Shandong Yisheng Livestock and Poultry Breeding Co., a leading chicken breeder in China, were priced at about 6 yuan ($0.86) per animal, which is three times higher than at the beginning of this year.

China Customs estimates that the country’s imports of chickens for breeding will more than halve in 2022, which is far from sufficient to meet normal production demand.

The avian influenza epidemic has been a significant factor in the worldwide shortage of chicks, with a huge number of birds having to be culled to prevent the spread of the disease. This situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted global supply chains and made it harder to transport goods across borders.

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