Researchers aren't entirely clear on why, though larger, heavier birds may be to blame.
It's can be easy to dissociate "the birds and the bees" from the meat and poultry you buy at the supermarket, but apparently said birds just aren't in the mood right now, and that could lead to a possible meat shortage.
As reported by Consumerist, the birds simply don't seem to be interested in reproducing—and researchers aren't entirely clear on why. It's likely a result of natural selection, though: Due to our demand for all things chicken, breeders began mating large roosters with large hens. Now, "some birds are so top-heavy that they may not be all that interested in breeding," the outlet explained. "And there’s now an older breeding population of roosters and hens that are less likely to produce viable eggs."
If we'd only known our beloved poultry dishes were in danger, we would never have put up with wasteful products like Chicken Chips and chicken-flavored chocolate. But, alas, hindsight is 20/20, and Chicken Chips are delicious.
So, what exactly is the root problem here? Age? Weight? A genuine lack of interest in mating? A lack of interest caused by weight? It's not completely clear, and it's possible the chickens' bigger size isn't the problem after all, which throws that entire hypothesis out the window. In fact, scientists haven't actually figured out yet whether the lapse in chicken reproduction is caused by overfeeding or underfeeding. C'mon, scientists. We can only live without cookie-coated chicken tenders for so long.
But whatever the reason, it's a real problem, and it's having real repercussions for the chicken market. Analysts at The Wall Street Journal have elaborated on all of this in a recent report, explaining that the U.S. must produce approximately 750 million birds each month to keep up with consumer demand, and that the smallest decrease (in the current case, a possible decrease of just 1 percent) could trigger an industry-wide loss of $120 million.
Well, until we figure out exactly what's going on and how it'll affect us in the long-term, we'll have to console ourselves by stocking up on the stuff while it's still around. Who's up for a trip to Taco Bell?
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