The prices of chicken have come down, and sale of ducks as meat has considerably slowed following reports of bird flu in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts.

Culling of birds to prevent the spread of the disease has added to the fears, said a hotelier in Kochi on Wednesday. He added that his normal order for around 15 birds a day had come down to just five.

O.P. John, a wholesale chicken seller in Kochi, said the demand for both chicken and ducks had come down considerably after a peak ahead of the New Year celebrations. He added that the supply of birds from both the neighbouring districts and Ernakulam had been affected by reports of bird flu spread.

According to him, live chicken is selling at ₹92 a kg in the wholesale market, while the retail price is ₹117 a kg. He did not foresee a huge impact on chicken sales in view of reports on the disease.

At the same time, live ducks, which used to be sold at ₹300 per bird, had suffered a setback with little demand since January 3.

A seller of live ducks at Kundannoor, who did not want to be identified, said there was demand for 25 to 30 birds a day per wholesale customer, but the demand had come down now to five birds a day. Hoteliers and wholesale customers alone are placing orders for birds, while retail sales have come to a standstill.

An official of the Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation said steps had been taken to prevent the spread of bird flu. There is no fear of the bird flu spreading to farms owned by the corporation, the official added.

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