Chicken farmers are emptying their sheds because soaring energy and feed costs are making production unprofitable.
Charles Bourns, chairman of the NFU’s poultry committee, said he knew of one farm in Gloucestershire, which usually reared 600,000 birds a time, that was now empty. Others were following suit, he warned. Biting particularly hard at this time of the year is the need to heat sheds constantly.
Bourns said: “There’s a desperate shortage of live British chickens. The supermarkets, who are committed to primary British chicken, are OK for now. But caterers will be feeling the effect.”