Bird flu: Egg shortage reality for SA

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About 15% of South Africa’s laying hens have already been culled due to an outbreak of bird flu. The disease is causing havoc in the poultry industry.

Dr Charlotte Nkuna, acting executive officer for the South African Poultry Association, earlier said due to the number of chickens culled, egg shortages are now a reality for South Africa.

Nkuna said the Western Cape is affected the most.

Earlier this week, she said more than 15% of laying hens in the country, or 4 million in total, have already been killed by the disease.

More than 20 farms affected

Before the outbreak, South Africa had 24 million laying hens.

To date, 23 commercial farms have been affected by the outbreak.

Agriculturist Johan Willemse said the shortage can lead to an increase of between 15-20% in the price of eggs, until the laying hen population returns to the same level as before the outbreak. This can also lead to a long-term shortage of eggs.

Western Cape affected the worst

In the Western Cape, more than 2.76 million poultry birds have already have died or were culled to prevent the spread of the disease. 2.6 million of the birds were laying hens. About 30% of lay hens in South Africa are in the Western Cape.

Producers in Lesotho are also battling to source one day-old broiler chicks in particular.

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