SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — As the United States continues to deal with the aftermath of the avian influenza outbreak, egg prices continue to soar.
While fresh eggs every morning sounds wonderful, some people are unaware of how much work goes into raising chickens.
“Right now, we’re seeing an increase in egg prices, actually a very dramatic increase in prices on the retail level. We’re talking over 200% right now compared to where we were a year ago,” said Christa Hartsook, Small Farms Program Manager with Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach.
For many grocery stores in Siouxland, it costs roughly $5 for a dozen eggs. Hartsook said Siouxlanders should expect this to be normal for quite some time.
“It’s gonna take a while to rebuild that. You don’t get chicks and then immediately have egg production, so it’ll take a little bit of time before we’re really seeing those prices come down,” said Hartsook.
To avoid the prices, some residents are looking at raising chickens of their own.
For the past four years, Amanda Beller has been raising chickens in her backyard.
“Well, my kids say it was a mid-life crisis, so my youngest was graduating and I always wanted ’em and I thought well it’s a perfect time. Things are kinda slowing down,” said Beller.
Beller owns four chickens: Olive, Ruby, B, and D. She said it costs more to house and feed the chickens than it is to buy eggs from the store.
“Well, I have to tell ya, people are like, ‘Oh you’re so lucky that you have chickens and that you have eggs.’ But a lot of people don’t realize that because of the shorter days, the winter season, they don’t lay a lot anyways. And then when you factor in building the coop, and the cost of the feed, and the utilities to run the heat when it’s bitterly cold, it doesn’t really offset,” said Beller.
Before purchasing your own chicken, Beller recommended Siouxlanders take their time and learn all they can about chickens before committing to raising them.
“Do a lot of research. I didn’t know anything at all when I got into it and you’re learning a lot all the time,” said Beller.
Sioux City’s Municipal Code states residents can only have four hens in a residential area and requires a permit to have chickens as well. If you want backyard chickens, first check with your city’s ordinance before purchasing.