As winter sets in and the heat wave comes, some American chicken hatcheries are beginning to close and others are not expected to reopen until next spring.
In addition to the hatcherys closing, some of the older hatcheried chickens are getting the axe.
For the past several years, these older chickens were kept on pasture and fed a mix of feed from different producers.
In order to get the freshest feed, the older chickens needed to be raised indoors for up to a year.
Some older hatchers say the new conditions are more challenging than before, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
“They have to be in a more enclosed environment and that’s really challenging because they’re not getting the nutrients and nutrients they need,” said Heather Kowalski, who runs the hatchery in New Jersey.
“I think they’re probably going to end up with more issues than they’re already having with these problems,” she added.
Kowalsky said the younger chickens are the ones who need to be taken care of the most.
“I think it’s more about the maturity and the growth of the chicks that’s more of an issue for them,” she said.
Some hatcherying facilities have started taking advantage of the weather by shutting down operations to save money.
The Animal Health Center in New York City shut down for more than a month in December because it could not keep up with demand.
The company says the shutdown was necessary because of the warmer temperatures and because it is too difficult to keep the animals healthy.
But that doesn’t mean all hatchery operations are shuttered.
In fact, some are still operating.
“We’re just getting started and we’re just seeing what happens in the future,” said Mike Tinsley, who owns the chicken processing business The Bait Factory in Pennsylvania.
Tinsly said he is trying to make up for lost money.
“We’re trying to figure out what we can do to keep up our operation,” he said.
In the meantime, he said he’s open to new hatchery operations and is hoping to open one in New Mexico sometime next year.
Tinsley said he thinks the hatchers will come back.
“Hopefully by spring or summer, they’ll be able to get them back in,” he added.