The UK poultry sector has reported approximately 219 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) cases since October 2021, of which 85 cases were reported since 1st October 2022. As a result, the British authorities have announced mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds from 7th November. The housing measures legally require all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow stringent biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the disease, regardless of type or size.
UK turkeys are most vulnerable to Avian Influenza (AI), followed by ducks and geese. Consequently, the Mintec price for UK turkey (7.25-9 kg) increased 54.7%, quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q), to GBP 4.9/kg on 26th October. According to market participants, turkey demand remains strong in the run-up to Christmas, and there could be a severe shortage of turkey birds in November and December. In addition, domestic duck supplies are tight, while imports from the EU are low due to AI. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced that turkey, geese, or duck farmers could slaughter their flocks early. Farmers may also freeze and defrost poultry to be sold in time for Christmas. This will prevent turkey prices from rising further.
Chicken birds have also been culled because of AI, albeit in smaller proportions. The UK chicken prices increased by 6% (m-o-m) to GBP 2.4/kg in October. High breeding and processing costs such as energy, fuel, labour, and feed have also resulted in price increases.