Delaware's poultry production has dropped by 18 million chickens so far in 2012, according to industry reports, continuing a seven-year downward trend.

In 2005, Delaware produced a record 282 million chickens. In 2010, that number dropped to 235 million, and in 2011 the number was 217 million. Although two companies — Townsends Inc. and Allen Family Foods — went bankrupt in 2011, Delaware Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee said the reduction has more to do with market forces. "Nationally, production is expected to drop some, because of market reaction to oversupply and low prices, as well as the negative impact of higher grain prices on feed costs," said Kee. "So, a natural market correction is occurring right now."

Delaware ranks 12th in the U.S. for broiler chicken production and ninth in the weight of birds produced, according to Delmarva Poultry Industry data.