WASHINGTON – During the week ending Dec. 18, commercial hatcheries in the 19-state weekly program set 204 million eggs in incubators, which was down slightly from the eggs set the corresponding week a year earlier, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board, US Department of Agriculture.

Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 84%. Average hatchability is calculated by dividing chicks hatched during the week by eggs set three weeks earlier.

Meanwhile, broiler growers in the 19-state weekly program placed 170 million chicks for meat production during the week ending Dec. 18. Placements were up 1% from the comparable week a year earlier. Cumulative placements from Jan. 3, 2010, through Dec. 18, 2010, were 8.46 billion, up 2% from the same period a year earlier.