American chickens are having some trouble reproducing. A key breed of chickens commonly raised for industrial poultry production has a genetic defect that causes low fertility in birds that are overfed, which reduces the supply available and pushes up prices, Reuters reports.
This comes at a time that both pork and beef prices have spiked as well, meaning this is going to be an expensive summer for meat:
The long-run average growth in chicken production is 4 percent, but this year the the Department of Agriculture is only predicting a 1 percent increase over 2013.
The breeder “has replaced the breed suffering from fertility issues with a new breed, and is mating it with the same type of hens,” according to Reuters. The full shift to the new breed, and therefore hopefully a drop in prices, should be completed by the fall.