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Wisconsin Faces Pandemic-Induced Chicken Wing Shortage


  First it was a shortage of cleaning supplies, then toilet paper, and now one of the most eaten foods on your game day table could be hard to come by.

It's not the breast or the thigh, but the wing. A shortage of them is being seen in the US. The biggest factor being the pandemic.

"COVID sicknesses that we had at the processing plant, so we just had a backlog of these animals that weren't able to get in to get butchered and because of that we were then using from our frozen supplies or our storage supplies," said Marathon County UW-Extension Dairy Agent Heather Schlesser.

According to poultry specialists, Wisconsin is producing around 55 million meat chickens a year.

Officials say that on a national level, chicken production has decreased by 3 percent over the past year. While it might not seem as much, it's making a difference.

"If the value of chickens stays high probably you'll see increases in production, that I would say would take at least a few months to get that worked through," said Ron Kean, a Poultry Specialist at UW-Extension.

The National Chicken Council reports that new COVID regulations caused production to be shortened.

"Traditionally we've always thought of breast meat as the prime part but I think it's easy to argue that wings are that prime part right now," Kean said.

In the meantime, while the supply is being replaced, consider a different appetizer to enjoy to help chicken numbers increase.