Do egg prices have you considering backyard chickens?

Bird flu, price of feed and fuel lead to overall increase

DETROIT – Egg prices have gone up nearly 60% in the last year and it’s for multiple reasons.

Behind the increase in prices is the bird flu outbreak and hikes in the price of feed, fuel and labor.

The price increase has some people in Metro Detroit thinking about getting chickens for their yards -- but there are some things you should consider before going that route.

Local 4 spoke with Trevor Johnson, who owns six chickens. While he doesn’t have to deal with the hassle of buying expensive eggs, having chickens comes with a price too.

Johnson started raising chickens at the start of the COVID pandemic because he wanted to know where his food was coming from. He said his six chickens produce about four or five eggs a day.

Katie Ockert is a community food systems educator with Michigan State University Extension. Ockert said over the last decade more people have wanted to be more self-sustainable, but with backyard chickens there are a few more steps to take than just buying chickens and getting eggs.

The first thing you need to do is check your local regulations and see if it’s even legal to have chickens or other animals in your backyard. There is also the time and preparation it takes to get the chickens to lay eggs and make sure they’re safe to eat.

You can click here to view the results from last year’s investigation into outbreaks linked to backyard poultry.

What backyard flock owners should do

The CDC released the following advice for people with chickens in their backyards:

  • Wash your hands
    • Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after touching backyard poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
    • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Consider having hand sanitizer at your coop.
  • Be safe around backyard flocks
    • Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.
    • Keep your backyard flock and supplies you use to care for them (like feed containers and shoes you wear in the coop) outside of the house. You should also clean the supplies outside the house.
  • Supervise kids around flocks
    • Always supervise children around backyard poultry and make sure they wash their hands properly afterward.
    • Don’t let children younger than 5 years touch chicks, ducklings, or other backyard poultry. Young children are more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella.
  • Handle eggs safely
    • Collect eggs often. Eggs that sit in the nest can become dirty or break.
    • Throw away cracked eggs. Germs on the shell can more easily enter the egg through a cracked shell.
    • Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth. Don’t wash eggs because colder water can pull germs into the egg.
    • Refrigerate eggs to keep them fresh and slow the growth of germs.
    • Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm, and cook egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill all germs.
  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe symptoms:
    • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
    • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
    • Signs of dehydration, such as:
      • Not peeing much
      • Dry mouth and throat
      • Feeling dizzy when standing up

About the Authors:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.