The two major poultry clusters at Namakkal in Tamil Nadu and Barwala in Haryana have faced a supply glut in the past two weeks, due to reports of outbreak of bird flu.
Shabeer Khan, convenor of the Poultry Federation of India, said the average price at the farm level had slipped from Rs 3.90 apiece to Rs 3.70 in the northern region. He said central government officials had collected samples of birds and reports were awaited. All reports till now have been negative.
Samples of birds from Barwala and Chandigarh have been sent to the high-security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal, and the reports are awaited.
D Chandershikhran, professor of animal nutrition, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal, Tamil Nadu, said as swine and birds were not reared together in India there was no fear of spread of an infection. "The fear psychosis may affect demand but it is a temporary effect."
Egg prices in Nammakal are in the range of Rs 3.16 to Rs 3.20 apiece. The price per egg was close to Rs 3.76 two weeks back. The situation is not as worrisome as last year when prices dropped from Rs 4 per egg to Rs 2.50 per egg in the same season, Chandershikhran added.
Egg demand shoots up in the months of December and January as temperatures dip in the north. Demand was stable in the states of Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, said P Tamil Arson of Pepe Farms Namakkal, and reviving in Kerela. The Christmas festival may also boost the demand.
A senior official at Republic of Chicken, a chain of poultry outlets that has two processing units 60 km from Chandigarh, said they were geared up for such situations but refused to divulge if the business had been affected.
Poultry farmers have been organising egg and chicken festivals and free feasts to mobilise consumers to buy poultry products.