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Gamebird Industry Risks

The gamebird industry is changing in significant ways due to the many risks that are involved in raising birds. The economy, weather and  the Avian Influenza outbreaks that have happened throughout the world In the past five years have impacted the gamebird industry in many ways.

Gamebird producers have witnessed a change in both supply and demand for birds.  Bird producers who have thought about expanding their businesses have decided not to, or at least to think about that decision as the risk is greater. In previous years, people who are ordering hunting birds have been able to contact producers at the end of the season and buy them for $6 each, expecting producers to have overproduced. Now producers are taking orders in advance and only planning on raising the number of birds for which they have orders.  

The gamebird industry is a capital-intensive industry and raising gamebirds requires specialized components like covered pens that have little to no resale value.  Think about spending $10,000 per acre for a well-built covered pen (not including land or construction costs).  If one dropped out of business, the posts, the wire, and the netting have very little residual value. The only thing that one may get decent prices for would be the feeders and the waterers.  Compare this to the grain industry if a company purchased a new tractor, planter, and combine, they could feasibly spend a million dollars.  If, after a couple of years, they wanted out of the grain business, they could get a very good percentage of that money back on the purchased equipment.

There are many reasons why people who raise gamebirds are skittish. They have to worry about the volatility of the grain markets and increased prices for feed (especially when there is a drought), add to this inflation and the dramatic increase in wages and benefits. Then look at the wild card, which is Avian Influenza and one can understand the risks that farmers are taking.

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