What State Produces the Most Chickens? Where Do Most Chickens Fans Reside?

If you are a chicken fan, then Iowa is the place to go, as this is the state that produces the most chickens out of all the US states.

Iowa is followed closely by Ohio and Indiana.

I found it quite mind-boggling that one state could raise so many millions of chickens. Curious about just how it’s done, I set off to investigate the Iowa chicken production network.

Iowa, among other states, is one of the top producers of broiler meat, eggs, pullets, or day-old chicks. Between Iowa and other states, several millions of pounds of meat are produced.

Key Stats at a Glance

 What State Produces The Most Chickens

chicken producing states
  • According to Stats for 2023, the highest number of chickens was produced in Iowa, with 54.9 million chickens. Not only does Iowa produce a large number of broiler chickens, but it also yields a huge percentage of the overall crop of eggs in the United States.
  • Ohio comes second on the list, with 52.6 million chickens being produced annually. These states contribute greatly to meeting the US need for affordable protein and food.
  • 45.7 million chickens were produced by Indiana.
  • Pennsylvania produced almost 32.5 million chickens in 2023.
  • In Texas, 30.5 million chickens are produced.
  • As of January 1, 2024, the total number of layers in the United States reached 379 million, marking a 1 percent increase from the previous year.

Chicken Producers

how many chickens are in the us
  • According to USDA, in 2023, the United States had an estimated 522.57 million chickens.
  • In the USA, Iowa produces the highest number of chickens and is rightly known as a chicken state.
  • In 2022 worldwide, China produced the highest number of chickens at 5.29 billion.
  • China produced 583.96  million eggs in 2021. China is ranked as the world’s largest producer of chicken eggs, followed by the US. Due to avian flu outbreaks, China’s domestic chicken meat production didn’t increase as rapidly as demand has, and China is the US’s third-largest importer of chicken meat.
  • According to FAO, the second greatest chicken meat producers is Indonesia, with 3.48 billion chickens.

Top Broiler Producing States

chickens production
  • The US produces the highest number of chickens for meat in the world. The US exports about 17% of its broiler chickens as meat to the rest of the world.
  • The USDA stats of 2023 revealed Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas, and Mississippi are the top broiler-producing states in the US.
  • Georgia produces the largest number of broilers, which are 1308.4 million heads.
  • However, in terms of the weight of chicken, North Carolina is on the top with 810.25 million pounds, according to the same USDA report.
  • According to the Georgia Encyclopedia, since the 1940s, the Peach State has seen significant growth in its broiler chicken industry. Georgia farmers began chicken farming in earnest from 1939 to 1950, with chicken farms increasing from 57 to 1,044. Production of broiler chickens rose to over 5 billion pounds by 1995, and the Peach State produces well over 8 billion pounds annually.

What State Produces The Most Eggs

us chicken farms
  • USDA reports that Iowa leads all 50 US states in egg production, with 1,100.2 million eggs produced by the end of 2023. Iowa produces one in every six eggs in the US, which means it’s likely that every person in the US will have eaten an egg from Iowa, and the state’s economy is based on agriculture.
  • Ohio is on the second number with 1,017.4 million egg production.
  • Indiana, with 900.6 million egg production, is on 3rd.
  • According to USDA, Iowa produces the highest number of egg-laying chickens, which is 43.44 million.
  • According to NCPA, around 45 million chickens in Iowa are utilized for egg production. Iowa’s egg production is so vast that it can supply enough eggs for the entire world to have one egg per day for two days.
  • On average, one hen lays one egg per day, though this applies to special breeds of chickens that are bred to lay eggs. Specialized feeding, mechanized systems to turn lights on and off at preset times, and hormone treatments are often used to ensure a layer hen produces an egg a day for her short one to three-year lifespan.

How Chickens Are Big Business

Broiler chicken production
  • Since 1990, chicken consumption for meat has increased by 70%, compared to the demand for beef and pork, which has remained relatively unchanged since the 90s. Chicken meat remains a popular choice due to the low cost per pound when compared to other animal proteins.
  • Despite the recessions, Avian flu pandemics, and the loss of millions of birds that had to be culled, the world still wants more chicken—even though chicken has increased in price by 17%.
  • In 2022, the cost of broiler chickens in the US reached $50.45 billion, according to the NASS USDA report.
  • The cost of each chicken in 2022 was $7.20, as per USDA data.
  • The US citizens eat 8 billion chickens annually. A sad reality is that Americans didn’t always eat as much chicken as they do now. Large events like the Super Bowl, which required the slaughter of 700 million birds (for their wings and legs alone), show the insatiable appetite that Americans have for chicken meat.
  • Stats for 2022 revealed that US citizens consumed 98.8 pounds of chicken per capita on average. Americans have increased their consumption of chicken per person per year from 47.4 pounds in 1980 to almost 100 pounds in 2022. This is more than double the amount consumers ate 40 years ago. The demand for chicken is not only high but also increasing, with chicken being imported to the US to meet meat consumption needs.
  • Midwest households averaged $222 spending per unit on poultry in 2022.
  • The consumption of chicken eggs per person in 2023 was 280.9. These are not all the eggs in the US, as table hens produce table eggs. Laying hens produce fertilized eggs that are hatched in mechanical hatcheries, which hatch as pullets or day-old chicks that are sold to be raised in battery cages.
  • USDA data predicted that in 2023, the egg consumption per person will rise to 283.7 eggs.
  • Poultry consumption will slowly rise, reaching 123 pounds per capita by 2032. In 2021, the per capita consumption of poultry in the U.S. was around 113.4 pounds.
  • According to USDA Agriculture Projections to 2032, the per capita consumption of an average U.S. citizen will be 106 pounds by 2032.
  • Iowa alone contributes $2 billion annually to the country’s economy with egg production. By producing almost 16 billion eggs each year, Iowa adds $2.4 billion in sales to the US economy. These sales equal $22.8 million in tax revenue, while $502 million is paid in wages to 7,400 workers in the industry.
  • 61,319 will be employed in the US Chicken Egg Production industry in 2023. Between 2018 and 2023, the average annual increase in employment within the U.S. Chicken Egg Production industry was 2.1%.
  • Chicken Egg Production industry revenue in 2023 was $11.3 billion. From 2018 to 2023, the market size of the Chicken Egg Production industry in the US has experienced an average annual decline of 2.4%.


How Many Chickens Are There in the US?

In 2020, the US raised 9.22 billion broiler chickens, with around 1.2 billion alive at any moment given their 42-day lifespan. Including 374 million egg-layers, the US had about 1.5 billion chickens in total.

What State Produces the Most Chicken?

Iowa is the leading state in the United States for chicken production, particularly broiler chicken production. It’s renowned for its significant contribution to the poultry industry, consistently ranking at the top in terms of volume.

Final Thought

The world is certainly more populated by chickens than by people. Statistics rate that there are four chickens per person on Earth.

Most of the chicken meat on earth is produced in a shockingly small space within each of the factory farms found in the US. Likewise, egg production happens in a system of battery cages, where chickens raised are commodities that produce eggs at unnatural rates, laying an egg a day.

The world craves cheap protein from animals, and chickens are cheap to raise at less than $4 a bird while being sold for much more per bird.

I was quite surprised by the staggering numbers of eggs and chickens produced in the world and in the US.

Among broiler chicken producers, the leading chicken-producing states have established themselves as top chicken meat producers, with Iowa standing out as the greatest chicken meat producer. Additionally, the number of eggs produced by egg-laying hens further cements these states’ dominance in both poultry meat and egg industry sectors.

However, it also brings a huge burden to inspect chicken-raising facilities and ensure that animals are kept and slaughtered humanely.

Talitha Van Niekerk
Talitha is a full-time writer and content creator. She has a passion for animals of all shapes and sizes. Talitha has made it her life’s work to help educate pet owners to build better animal-human bonds so they can enjoy the same unconditional love her five horses, seven dogs, two cats, and an ever-growing flock of chickens shower her with daily. As a writer, Talitha draws on her years as a riding facility yard manager, her own experience, and thorough research to create the best and most accurate information to guide her readers. She loves reading feedback from happy readers who have benefited from her articles and helping pet owners is why she writes. After more than ten years as a teacher, she still wants to educate and inform people so they can make better decisions for their pets. Her happy place is at her computer with her dogs snuggled around her toes, a cat on her lap, or in the saddle.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Your SpotOn GPS Collar with a $50 Discount

Get updates on the latest posts and more from World Animal Foundation straight to your inbox.

No Thanks