Chicken owners see demand for farm fresh eggs amid egg price increases

As egg prices increase, some are entertaining the idea of owning their own laying hens. WBKO's Kelly Dean gets the scoop.
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 4:46 PM CST
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FOUNTAIN RUN, Ky. (WBKO) - The price of eggs has increased dramatically over the past year which has left some consumers wondering if owning their own chicken for eggs would be financially beneficial.

One year ago, the average price for a dozen eggs in the U.S. was $1.92. Now, the average price for a dozen of eggs is $4.25, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So what’s the deal with the drastic increase?

“Number one was the most deadly and biggest avian influenza outbreak in the United States history, which lasted all of 2022,” said Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture.

In Kentucky, there were four Avian Flu outbreaks-- two in Western Kentucky, one in Lexington, and another in Louisville.

In addition, supply chain issues, the high cost of fuel with transporting, and high grain prices are to blame as well, he said.

“Whenever you’re feeding animals paying the price of grain goes up, it’s going to be carried down to the consumer as well,” explained Quarles.

For Carrie Smith of Fountain Run, collecting fresh farm eggs in the morning has become the norm over the last four years.

“So, five this morning. It’s still early though too. But we let them free range. So it’s kind of like Easter every day,” said Smith as she meandered around her chicken coop.

Smith has about 40 chickens and owns The Slab By The Barren Campground nearby She often sells her farm fresh eggs at about $4 a dozen to campers.

“They called and asked, like, Hey, we’re booking our sites or whatever, and you got eggs this year, right? Or local friends have been getting eggs. The word gets around,” Smith said.

Right now is the offseason, so she’s only getting about six to seven eggs a day, but when production is good during the spring peak season, her hens lay about 40 eggs a day.

“I think we’re gonna have to put a sign in the yard that says you know fresh eggs so that everybody could stop in and get some,” said Smith.

Quarles said that raising chickens now might not save you as much money as chicks take about six months before they start laying and feed can get pricey. Nonetheless, it’s becoming a more popular hobby.

“I would suspect that the cost is probably about the same as what you’re going to see at the grocery store. Plus, of course, you’re raising animals,” said Quarles.

He predicts that egg prices will stabilize at some point this year.

If you’d like to buy a dozen eggs from Smith, you can reach out to her on Facebook at The Slab By the Barren Campground.