What is the national egg shortage doing to small farmers? Where is it going?
February 20, 2023
As you probably already know, there seems to be an egg shortage right now. Why is this? Is it affecting our farm?
There seem to be many opinions on this case and I really don't know what to believe and what not to believe, but here are 4 factors that I've heard recently that caused the egg shortage and prices to skyrocket.
1. Residual Supply Chain Issues From 2020
This has affected many, or even all food prices over the last 3 years. It seems however, that the eggs are being hit with inflation more aggressively than most food. My best guess to this would be because of the predicted shortage of eggs due to the avian flu outbreak in 2022.
2. Culls From Avian Influenza
It has been reported that more than 40 million laying hens have been culled (slaughtered) due to the rapid spread of the avian flu since April & May 2022. Can you imagine, if this highly contagious virus gets into a commercial egg barn of 10,000 or more chickens it's going to spread like wildfire because the poor birds can't get any fresh air to help fight it off. Instead the birds will get vaccinated very heavily to try and protect against this crazy virus.
3. Skyrocketing Of Feed Inputs
Just like everything else. Feed costs, trucking costs, egg box costs, etc. have skyrocketed in the past 2 years and this has had a big impact on the price on eggs. It's been reported however, the feed prices have tripled in some places in the past year or two.
4. Natural Seasonal Production
A healthy and thriving chicken will usually produce one egg per day. Winter is just overall not a friendly season for chickens, especially pastured chickens. Chickens need approximately 14 hours of light per day in order to produce an egg every day.
It may be different with larger flocks, but with small flocks where the birds get natural daylight, lights will have to be provided to make up for the fewer daylight hours in the winter. Commercial facilities likely have lights on at all times.
Also, chickens do not like the cold so if the barn is not warm enough they will use up more of their energy to stay warm and won't have enough left to produce an egg each day.
Apparently this is not the first time that laying hens were affected by the avian flu. However, the spread in 2022 has impacted the nation far worse than ever before because is that the international food supply chain was still in recovery mode from 2020.
I recently heard that the US egg inventory was 29% lower in the later part of 2022 than in the beginning of the year. It takes approximately 8-12 month for the full effect of food crisis to make it to the front end of the food supply chain to our wallets.
This means that what happened a year ago will now be affecting us as consumers.
My personal opinion about all this
Maybe I should not give my opinion but I think that this crazy flu all started intentionally by a man made vaccine that was injected in thousands, no millions, of chickens and resulted in killing the birds and obviously causing an egg shortage.
I think the reason they did this is because these large "white egg" farms were not making enough money on their eggs and so they figured out a way to change that.
Is the shortage or the virus affecting Hidden Camp Farm?
The simple answer is, NO. However, I guess in a way the shortage may be affecting us in another way. We have had a lot more people coming to us for eggs in the last couple months because they couldn't find them through their usual supplier.
Because of this we are having a hard time to keep up with the demand for our corn & soy-free eggs.
Last summer when we purchased these 200 chickens we it would be plenty to keep up with the demand for at least a year but it has really exploded in the last couple months! And, besides, it's winter which is causing our chickens to lay fewer eggs as well.
We may have a solution for you?
We needed something to help us out so we found a local farmer who was willing to let us purchase some of his eggs until we find a better source of our own. These eggs are NOT corn & soy-free but they are pasture raised and certified organic.
So, if you don't mind the corn & soy ingredients in the chicken feed, here is an option for you. Try these fresh organic eggs today!
Last but not least
Don't turn away just yet! We plan to add 500 more chickens to our farm by middle of March.
However, these chickens will be 16 week old "pullets" and will not be able to fully produce eggs until about 18-20 weeks old.
So we hope to have a better supply of corn & soy-free eggs by the beginning of April.
What are your thoughts about the Avian bird flu? Will you be able to use the certified organic eggs for now or will you stick around until we have a better supply of corn & soy-free?