Tyson Foods switching out roosters in response to poor ‘hatchability rates’ and short chicken supply


In this April 22, 2020, file photo, a sign sits in front of the Tyson Foods pork plant in Perry, Iowa. A group of worker advocacy organizations has filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging that meat processing companies Tyson and JBS have engaged in workplace racial discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic. The complaint alleges the companies adopted polices that reject U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on distancing and protective gear on meat processing lines. The complaint says the operating procedures have a discriminatory impact on mostly Black, Latino, and Asian workers. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, file)

(NEXSTAR) – Tyson Foods is blaming its roosters for contributing to a nationwide chicken shortage.

Tyson Foods, one of the largest meat and poultry processors in the world, has announced plans to install a different variety of rooster in its breeding program after finding that its most recent variety is contributing to for poorer-than-average “hatchability rates.”

“We’re changing out a male that quite frankly we made a bad decision on,” said Donnie King, the president of Tyson’s poultry business, in a quarterly earnings call on Monday, according to Reuters.

King added that strong demand for poultry was also a major contributing factor for the limited chicken supply, splitting the blame “50/50” between demand and the roosters.

A representative for Tyson Foods added that supply-chain disruptions caused by Winter Storm Uri, and worker absenteeism, were also partial factors.

Tyson Foods, however, admitted that its most recent roosters — which are being swapped out in favor of the previous variety — had ultimately “improved the characteristics and performance of the chickens raised for meat,” but also lowered egg production and hatchability.

“We’ve since changed back to the male breeding chickens we’ve previously used and expect the hatchability rates to improve over time,” a representative for Tyson confirmed in an emailed statement.

The Tyson Foods representative did not specify which breed of roosters, specifically, it was having the issue with.

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