Super Bowl Chicken Wings Could Cost You More

Drought in 2012 results in fewer chickens

By Kevin Cokely
|  Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013  |  Updated 12:18 AM CDT
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With chicken companies producing fewer birds in 2012 because of the drought, football fans could end up paying more this Super Bowl.

Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News

With chicken companies producing fewer birds in 2012 because of the drought, football fans could end up paying more this Super Bowl.

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Fewer chickens are coming home to roost this year.

The National Chicken Council (yes, there really is such a thing) reports that Americans will consume 1.23 billion chicken wings this Super Bowl weekend -- down about 1 percent, or 12.3 million, from last year.

Chicken companies produced fewer birds in 2012 because of the drought and the resulting higher corn and feed prices.

"The big thing is, feed costs went up this year, so when you get the higher temperatures combined with increased feed costs you're not going to have as many chickens produced," said Bill Katz, owner of Frankie's Sports Bar & Grill.

With three locations in Dallas, Fort Worth and Lewisville, Frankie's expects to sell 15,000 wings this weekend.

The sports bar is paying a bit more for them this year but not charging customers any more.

"Having a large supplier, consistent quality, consistent pricing -- it makes it easy for me," Katz said.

But fewer chicken wings to go around may make them harder to find in some places -- or, at the very least, more expensive.

"If you're a smaller store or dealing with a smaller supplier and you're trying to piecemeal stuff together, they're going to be last in the pecking order," Katz said. "You know, it's like the big dogs eating at the bowl. The big dogs are going to get their food, and the little dogs [are] going to get the leftovers."

Wing prices normally spike each year right before the Super Bowl, but the wholesale price has never been higher -- about $2.11 per pound, up 26 cents from last year.

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