Farmer's Report

Chicken Trends - May 7, 2021

Poultry market information is from the week of May 3, 2021.

According to reports, labor, freight cost, supply issues and the residual effects of the spring storms continue to be a challenge with most processors. Urner Barry reports that frozen chicken wing inventory is at the lowest levels since 2012. Fresh wing and boneless leg meat prices are at record highs. Boneless breast, tenderloins and boneless thigh meat are at 52-week highs.

This week, most of the poultry markets continued their climb upward. Most markets saw upward pricing. Analysts expect the increases to continue through May, followed by very tight supply and potential price increases in June and July. The small breast meat market increased this week. The medium boneless breast market increased as Further Processors continue to build inventory. The jumbo breast meat markets increased this week. The select and jumbo tender markets followed the same trend as boneless breast, as both sizes saw price increases. Pricing on all sizes of wings increased this week. Analysts are forecasting the dark meat categories to continue to rise in the second quarter of 2021, due to an increase in export and domestic demand, as well as labor issues hindering de-boning operations.

Broiler-Type Eggs Set in the United States Up 10%

Hatcheries in the United States weekly program set 238 million eggs in incubators during the week ending May 1, 2021, up 10% from a year ago. Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week in the United States was 79.7%. Average hatchability is calculated by dividing chicks hatched during the week by eggs set three weeks earlier.

Broiler-Type Chicks Placed in the United States up 9%

Broiler growers in the United States weekly program placed 186 million chicks for meat production for the week ending May 1, 2021, up 9% from a year ago. Cumulative placements for the weeks ending January 9, 2021 through May 1, 2021 for the United States was 3.17 billion. Cumulative placements were down 1% from the same period a year earlier.


Analysts report that small bird demand has strengthened this week, as prices increased slightly. The market for larger-size whole birds and WOGs is in a tight position, according to analysts.


All sizes of boneless breast pricing increased this week. According to analysts, demand for select and jumbo boneless breasts continues to increase as national promotions and restaurant openings continue. Spot load offerings for all sizes of boneless breasts have been hard to come by when offered, and the pricing has been strong. Analysts expect the select, medium and jumbo breast meat markets to trend flat to upward through May.

This week, the small and jumbo tender markets saw increases. Analysts expect these markets to trend flat to upward, as foodservice operators try to find a less expensive alternative to cut wings. Spot load offerings of small or jumbo fresh tenders have not surfaced this week. Frozen offers of jumbo tenders have been difficult to uncover and are commanding higher values.


This week, pricing for small, medium and jumbo wings increased. Analysts predict these markets will be flat to higher in the near term as demand increases due to tighter supply, low freezer inventories, labor issues and higher foodservice demand. All sizes of fresh or frozen wing spot products are difficult to uncover, and when the product is available, the offers continue with upward pricing, according to analysts.


The boneless, skinless thigh meat market was up this week. Spot offerings of boneless thighs have rarely surfaced, and pricing has remained strong. According to analysts, active export and domestic markets, as well as lack of additional supply and labor issues are driving this market up. Analysts expect this market to trend flat to upward in the near term.

The data contained in the Farmer’s Report is provided for informational purposes only, is not tailored to your specific purchasing needs, and is not intended as a substitute for any other publicly-available market data or information. The Farmer’s Report is compiled from the last-received market data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and/or other market sources, and is subject to change without notice. Nothing herein is the opinion of US Foods®. US Foods neither assumes any legal liability nor makes any warranty or guaranty, either express or implied, regarding the completeness, accuracy or usefulness of this information.