Kelly Rutkowski of the Adopt a Bird Network helps place chickens in need of homes.
Kelly Rutkowski, Adopt a Bird Network
Egg prices have risen by 70% over the past year, according to federal government data.
More people are turning to backyard chickens, but experts warn it’s not as easy or cheap as it seems.
Farm rescues are bracing for people who will be trying to get rid of chickens purchased on a whim.
The appeal of backyard chickens — roaming around, grazing on grass, and producing fresh, delicious eggs — is clear, and the high price of eggs at the grocery store has made the idea of bringing chickens home even more enticing for some consumers.
Driven by inflation and an avian flu outbreak decimating flocks, the price of eggs has soared. Altogether the bird flu has led to the deaths of more than 58 million farm birds since January 2022, through infection or culling, drastically impacting the egg supply. Over the past year, egg prices have risen by more than 70%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Earlier this year, The New York Times, Insider, and others wrote about people turning to backyard chickens to address inflation.
Farmers say they have been inundated with requests from people who are interested in getting some egg-laying hens of their own, a trend that even predates the “eggflation.” Tractor Supply Co., a leading seller of chicks, told The Wall Street Journal its live chicken sales have more than doubled since 2018, and that they expect to sell 11 million chicks in 2023 alone.
But backyard chickens may not be the budget-savvy trick some hope for.
Farm rescues told Insider they are bracing themselves for an influx of people looking to dump their chickens after they realize they are unable to keep up the cost or time associated with caring for the birds.
Backyard chickens can be expensive and a challenge to care for
“Besides pot belly pigs, calls for chickens and roosters are the most frequent calls we get,” Matt Lieurance, the co-founder of Farm Animal Refuge in San Diego, California, told Insider. “People get chickens mainly for egg production and then a few things happen. One is they don’t have the proper setup and they get a predator attack.”
Some people are buying backyard chickens to combat eggflation.
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Source:: Business Insider