Millions of Birds Die During Two Years of Bird Flu

One-fourth of America’s bird flu losses during outbreaks beginning in early 2022 were recorded during the final quarter of 2023. USDA data says that’s when the disease staged a resurgence.

Approximately 20.9 million birds were culled in infected domestic flocks from October through December to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Successful Farming says bird flu hit egg farmers so hard that prices in 2022 soared 32 percent above the average in 2021. That’s the largest increase for any food categories USDA tracked during a year of high food inflation. As flocks got rebuilt, egg prices rose marginally in 2023 and are expected to fall 12 percent this year.

A total of 79.7 million domestic birds, mostly egg-laying hens and turkeys being raised for human consumption, died in HPAI outbreaks or eradication efforts since February 2022. Since then, the disease has been confirmed in 1,059 flocks in 47 states.