Americans turn to raising chickens as eggs cost upward of $4

  • Inflation continues to hurt Americans financially
  • Eggs remain above $4 per dozen
  • Chicken owner: "My jaw dropped ... they were $1.50 a year ago"

(NewsNation) — Inflation has Americans paying a pretty penny for groceries, with some products — like eggs — costing more than others.

With the national average price for a dozen eggs at just over $4, consumers are looking for other alternatives, including buying chickens to raise at home.

Federal Reserve Economic Data showed that eggs cost about $1.93 in January 2022. That same dozen averaged about $4.82 in January of this year.

“My jaw dropped,” Amanda Banuelos, a chicken owner, said. “They were a dollar fifty a year ago.”

In the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada, Banuelos and her family have started saving money by raising chickens at home.  

“It wasn’t only the prices, it’s also reliability,” Banuelos said. “It is like having an animal but with a benefit. They are feeding my house.”

According to the United States Dept. of Agriculture, egg prices are predicted to increase 37.8% in 2023, but the range of predictions spans from 18.3 to 62.3%.

Last month, Dollar Tree reportedly announced that it would stop selling eggs altogether, citing the inflated prices.

At the Little Birdy Hatchery in Wake Forest, North Carolina, buying chicks is by appointment only and guaranteed to be all females.  

Laying hens cost up to $100, while most families with backyard coops buy baby chicks at a local hatchery at around $5 each.

The demand is so high, some shops are limiting customers to no more than five chicks per purchase.

Chicken keepers said the birds start laying eggs when they’re about 6 months old and lay about six eggs per week.

But before starting a backyard flock, it’s important to know your city or county’s rules for having chickens, and what they need in terms of food, water and shelter.

Once the costs for feeding and care are factored in, are the savings all that they’re cracked up to be?

“Right now, it might be because of egg prices,” Ann Larson, the owner of Little Birdie Hatchery, said. “But when egg prices weren’t so high as they are now, it probably wouldn’t.”

Regardless of the savings, many find raising chickens to be a true labor of love.

“They really are great and give you breakfast,” Larson said.

WNCN and NEXSTAR’s Jeremy Tanner contributed to this report.

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