The poultry industry is reporting staff shortages of 45 per cent at some Auckland plants as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. New Zealanders consume about 125 million chickens each year – but now the industry is being forced to revise the number of chicks being hatched to ensure farms do not become overwhelmed. Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks says the industry had staff shortages prior to the Omicron outbreak but they have ballooned to a nearly 505 loss of staff. It means a reduction in production and a change of focus to supply products that are less labour intensive, such as chicken carcasses and breast meat.