According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, for the first quarter of 2008, the average price for one dozen regular eggs was $2.16, up 55 cents compared to Q4 in 2007. The average price for “cage-free” eggs increased 23 cents to $3.00 per dozen.
Turns out there are a couple factors leading into this: the price of feed is going up (no surprise) but also the number of laying birds is decreasing.
“Producers are being really responsible, keeping supply in check,” said Chad Gregory, senior vice president at United Egg Producers, a national trade group. “So this could last a while.”Imagine my relief when I went to the Feed Supply store today and found that 50 pounds of chicken feed (layer crumbles) still costs $11.99. That means we'll get over six dozen eggs for $12, keeping us well below the average for "cage-free" eggs from the store.
Under a voluntary industry-certification program, egg producers have increased bird-cage sizes the past few years, capping the number of chickens per barn. The number of chickens per cage is down to four or five birds, from six or seven, according to Gregory.
Accordingly, a barn that once housed 100,000 chickens may be down to 70,000, he said.
“The overall supply is way down from two to three years ago,” Gregory added.
Gotta love raising your own egg producers in the back yard!