Why Have Arizona Egg Prices Skyrocketed?
I DON’T USUALLY BRAG ABOUT EXPENSIVE PURCHASES, BUT I JUST BOUGHT EGGS…
Not to brag or anything, but I just invested in a carton of eggs. I say invested, because at $8 a dozen, I had a fantasy that they must all be dipped in gold. Spoiler: they’re not.
I didn’t even get the pasture-raised-vegan-organic selection, either. They’re just regular, everyday grocery store eggs.
SHOULD WE JUST RAISE OUR OWN CHICKENS?
When the price of gas began climbing last year, I heard a lot of rumbling about buying horses instead of fuel. I own two horses and I’m here to tell you, the price of livestock feed has skyrocketed across the board. While riding my horse to work every day seems like a romantic proposition, owning horses is expensive.
This made me wonder if I would find the same problem if I decided to raise chickens. Would raising chickens for eggs still work out to $7 to $9 a carton?!
WHY DO THEY COST SO *BLEEPING* MUCH?!
When we were forced to lockdown during covid, a lot of industries were impacted, and since then we’ve seen the price of many goods and services climb higher than we ever thought possible. That’s part of the story, but the obscene cost of eggs is something of a perfect storm.
First, transportation costs have gone up, so the price of getting products onto shelves has increased. (And no, horse drawn delivery trucks are not an option. I checked.)
Second, the cost of animal feed has gone up across the board, but according to the Consumer Price Index, the price of eggs has increased 49% over the past year. Why?
OH. BIRD FLU.
Julie Murphree of the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation points to a nationwide outbreak of the bird flu, which has hit egg producers hard nationwide.
Arizona egg-laying hens are hanging on, but the prices are an aggregate of the entire nation. The Arizona Food Marketing Alliance represents major grocery chains statewide. President Mark Miller said supply and demand is driving up the price, which is set at a national level, and suppliers are trying to work together to overcome shortages across the nation.
IT AIN’T CHICKEN SCRATCH
So, would it be better to raise our own chickens? A lot of Arizonans live in rural areas or places where raising backyard chickens is allowed (be sure to check your local laws if you’re considering this option).
But what would it cost? According to the Tractor Supply website, a simple, basic chicken house runs around $280. A fancy one is over $1,000. I'll confess, I don’t know much about what you need to feed a chicken, but a 40-pound bag of feed runs about $15-$25, depending on what you’re feeding. I have no experience with how long a bag lasts, but this sure ain’t chicken scratch!