WASHINGTON – Poultry certified wholesome during March 2013 (ready-to-cook weight) declined 2 percent to 3.52 billion lbs., according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The February 2013 revised certified total at 3.39 billion lbs., was down 2 percent from February 2012. The February revision represented an increase of 325,000 lbs. from last month's preliminary pounds certified, NASS reported.

The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during March 2013 eased 2 percent to 4.66 billion lbs. from 4.77 billion lbs. a year ago. Young chickens inspected totaled 3.99 billion pounds, down 2 percent from March 2012. Mature chickens, at 59.4 million lbs., were down 6 percent from 2012 levels. Turkey inspections declined 6 percent to 591 million lbs. Ducks declined slightly to 13.7 million lbs.

Young chickens slaughtered during March 2013 averaged 5.87 lbs. per bird, up 1 percent from March 2012, NASS reported. The average live weight of mature chickens climbed 2 percent to 5.26 lbs. per bird. Turkeys slaughtered during March 2013 averaged 30.9 lbs. per bird, up 1 percent from March 2012.

Ante-mortem condemnations during March 2013 totaled 10.2 million lbs. NASS said condemnations were 0.22 percent of the live weight inspected compared to 0.20 percent in 2012. Post-mortem condemnations, at 37.5 million lbs., were 1.06 percent of quantities inspected compared to 0.96 percent a year ago.