Cumulative broiler chick placements in the U.S. from December 28, 2008 through March 28, 2009 were 2.18 billion, down 6% from the same period a year earlier, according to the USDA Broiler Hatchery report.

The decline in weekly chick placements has varied somewhat from week to week, but the number of chicks placed has always been lower than last year.

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Week ending March 28, 2009 chick placements were down 8% from the same week in 2008. The number of boiler eggs set in incubators last week was down 7% from the same period in 2008.