Bird flu causing egg prices to soar nationally, USDA says
ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. (WSMV) - The price tag on one of the most common grocery store purchases is hard to ignore, and it’s being blamed on a bird flu spreading through chickens.
The USDA reported last month the national average for a dozen eggs was $4.25, increasing nearly 50% over a year.
“The prices have been increasing mainly because of the avian flu,” Jason Hicks, owner of Rustling Oaks Farmstead, said.
Hicks, who raises eggs and produces dairy products on his Ashland City farm, said mass retailers of eggs will have to euthanize their chickens anytime the bird flu is discovered at their facilities.
“Over time, as more and more birds are euthanized, it’s not like they can turn right around and have new birds ready to go right off the door. It takes time to rebuild that stock back up,” Hicks said.
Fortunately for Hicks, his hens aren’t exposed to outside equipment and wild birds that could carry the virus, and production for him has been steady.
At peak times of the year, his hens can produce 60 dozen eggs in a week.
He also produces milk, cream and butter he sells to customers looking for farm-fresh food.
“We’re not a large operation but a smaller one, but we feel very honored to be able to supply food to people in our community,” Hicks said. “During COVID, we had a lot of food shortages, and I really felt the need to see what we could do here to help ourselves but to help and reach out to the community.”
Though Hicks isn’t impacted by the bird flu, he knows the egg trade will rebound once the virus fizzles out and consumers won’t face the high egg prices they see now.
“The production will come back up on the commercial side. It won’t be gone forever,” Hicks said. “But there’s also the option of looking into smaller farms in the area where people live and reach out and see if they can help.”
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