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Where are all the Chickens?

Published on: 17:49PM May 29, 2014

Following up on a few of our previous posts on cattle and hog numbers from the 2012 AG census, we now will review chickens. As you might guess, we count cattle and hogs in the millions, but we count chickens in the billions. As of 2012, there were about 8.5 billion chickens marketed for the year. This does not count chickens that are laying eggs, but rather, the number sold for food. The chicken count is down from the 2007 total of 8.9 billion, even with 2002 and about 1.1 billion ahead of 1997 levels. Due to the very high feed costs of 2010-2012, we would expect chicken numbers to be down a little, but we guess that 2014 numbers may be higher than 2007 already.

Only two states exceeded 1 billion chickens sold, with Georgia at 1.37 billion and Alabama at 1.02 billion. The top five states are:

  • Georgia 1.37 billion
  • Alabama 1.02 billion
  • Arkansas 975 million
  • North Carolina 802 million
  • Mississippi 761 million

These five states comprise over 58% of total chickens sold during 2012, while the top 10 states totalled over 78% of total sales. Almost every major chicken state is what we would call a "southern" state. The only states that might not be considered southern in the top 15 states are Missouri and California (although it touches Mexico).

I will recap some of the major crops and where they are grown over the next few weeks.