Good luck finding a late-morning McMuffin in Australia. McDonald's has reduced breakfast service hours by 1-1/2 hours due to a shortage of eggs caused by bird flu outbreaks, leading to the culling of approximately 1.5 million chickens, the company announced.

"Like many retailers, we are carefully managing the supply of eggs due to current industry challenges," McDonald's stated on Facebook, noting that from Tuesday, breakfast service would cease at 10:30am instead of the customary midday.

"We are working diligently with our Australian farmers and suppliers to restore normalcy as quickly as possible," the fast-food giant added. Australia is currently grappling with multiple strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza that have affected 11 poultry facilities, predominantly egg farms, in the southeast since May.

None of these strains are the H5N1 variant of bird flu, which has spread globally among bird and mammal populations, infecting billions of animals and a small number of humans. Less than 10% of Australia's egg-laying hens have been impacted, and authorities claim they are effectively controlling the virus, but several retailers have imposed limits on the number of eggs customers can purchase.

There has been some disruption to egg supply, with shelves in some stores becoming bare towards the end of the day, according to Rowan McMonnies, the managing director of industry body Australian Eggs. "Consumers can rest assured that over 20 million hens are being cared for by hundreds of egg farmers across Australia who will continue to work hard to ensure eggs remain on shelves," he added.

Bird flu is transmitted to farmed animals from wild birds. The 2024 infections mark Australia's 10th outbreak since 1976, each of which has been contained and eradicated, according to the government.