The skyrocketing price of eggs in recent months has been felt across the country, especially for those who rely on eggs as a cheap, versatile, reliable source of protein. When the supply of eggs drops and demand for eggs remains high as ever, the idea of producing your own is certainly an attractive one. Whether you’re already raising hens or just thinking about it, here’s some info you need to know.

Families on a budget are scrambling.

Egg prices rose 60% in 2022. Considering we eat 280 eggs per year, that’s a hefty price to pay for a pantry staple. And prices continue to rise, with an 11% increase in January 2023 over November 2022. While there are egg alternatives out there — from flax seed to soy-based products — they’re often just as expensive and less appetizing than the real thing.

Cracks in the egg industry are showing.

Thanks to increasing energy, transportation, chicken feed and worker costs, it’s simply more expensive to raise chickens. Inflation doesn’t help, especially when the price of groceries has outpaced general inflation by nearly 5%.

Usually, when the price of something goes up, people buy less of it. Eggs are an exception. Like gas or electricity, eggs are considered a necessity in many homes. In fact, demand for eggs still goes up during peak baking holidays, like Christmas and Easter.

To round out the trifecta impacting egg supply: A historic outbreak of avian influenza killed 58 million birds across 47 states in 2022, exceeding the previous record of 50.5 million in 2015. This has had an immediate and lasting effect on egg production — it often takes farms over six months to bounce back from an outbreak and start producing eggs again.

Egg production is nothing to bawk at.

Is there anything better than farm-fresh eggs? Yes! How about eggs that don’t cost $8 a dozen when they used to cost $3? Check out these best practices for keeping your hens healthy and happy — and producing delicious, nutritious, inexpensive eggs for your family.

For hens to produce high-quality eggs, they need a high-quality diet. Choose feed that includes at least 16% protein and 3% calcium. And, since eggs are roughly 74% water, make sure your chickens have access to lots of fresh, clean water.

House your hens in a coop that offers protection from predators and the elements. Use heaters in the winter and fans in the summer if necessary. Ensure there’s a thick layer of soft bedding to catch fragile eggs and absorb waste, and replace the bedding frequently. Chickens like a nice clean home!

Check for and collect eggs at least twice a day so they don’t have a chance to break inside the coop. Wash them carefully with egg-washing solution or 1 tablespoon of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water. And throw out any eggs that are cracked or contaminated.

Get out there and crush it!

Several factors have contributed to the egg shortage and subsequent high prices, including increased production costs, fewer egg-laying chickens, and a demand that’s stayed the same. While prices will likely start coming down in the near future, raising your own hens and producing your own eggs is a fun, practical and rewarding experience the whole family can enjoy together!

Look the part and show that you rule the roost: Flock to Country Cool for durable, functional, stylish clothes that celebrate producers like you!