Chicken prices driven up by fatally high temperatures

A worker feeds chicken at a farm in Tatkon.
A worker feeds chicken at a farm in Tatkon.

HIGH temperatures in Mon State have resulted in the deaths of many battery farmed chickens, augmenting the price of chicken meat locally, according to Mon State chicken farmers.
A viss (1.63 kilos) of battery farmed chicken in the first week of February fetched a wholesale price of approximately K2,300, which rose to as much as K3,400 just two weeks later.
“Chickens were dying off over a month ago from extremely cold weather. There were major financial losses at that time. Now, chickens are dying again because of the extreme heat. We have to make up our previous losses with the slight rise in the price of chicken meat. The amount of profit we’re getting at the moment, though, is only just enough to scrape by on,” said U Than Aye, a chicken breeder from Mon State.
Chicken farmers incur approximately K2,800 per viss of chicken meat in general expenses per chicken in feed, medicine and worker salaries from the time a chicken is bred until the time it can be sold.
On top of that, a baby chick must be raised for a period of approximately forty days before it can be sold. As such, many losses can be incurred if the price of chicken meat depreciates while it is maturing, says U Min Maung, a battery chicken farmer.
“Factory farmed chickens have to be sold once they’re fully grown. If one waits for the market price to appreciate before selling off fully grown birds, they will incur a loss because they have to spend on extra feed. The other factor to bear in mind is that these chickens die if they aren’t sold after they are fully grown as they can’t bear the excess weight of their own bodies. We’re lucky as the price of chicken meat is up, but it’s down more times than most,” he said.
There are only few independent chicken breeders in the Mon State chicken breeding business, with the majority of breeders involved in joint ventures between baby chicken sellers and chicken farmers.
The rise in the price of retail chicken bought by consumers has meant the value of one viss currently costs around K6,000.

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