As Egg Prices Soar, So Does Chicken Ownership

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EL DORADO COUNTY —

In January Prop 2 became law, requiring chicken farms to give extra space to their hens’ cages.

Since then, the price of eggs has gone up, but so too has the number of people buying chickens to raise in their back yard, according to some businesses.

Jay Leroy, the owner of the Poultry Palace in El Dorado County, said his business has gone up 600%.

Now he’s having trouble keeping chicks and their feed in stock as more and more are building coops in their back yards.

“Everybody is looking for chickens because of the price of eggs doubling,” Leroy told FOX40.

Last year Leroy said he pulled in an average of about $2,000 a month. But since the beginning of this year that’s skyrocketed up to around $12,000.

The law, which was approved by voters as Prop 2 back in 2008, requires farmers in other states to abide by the same requirements in order to sell eggs in the Golden State.

Consequently, Leroy said the price of eggs in the store has gone up 30-50%.

Now those with space for coops in their backyards are flocking to stores like his to buy as many chicks as they can.

“They’re selling out in basically two days,” Leroy said.

“It’s rewarding, for me to grow something, get it and put it on the table,” said Jenny Krebs, who along with her son Jeff, came to Poultry Palace Friday to buy more chickens.

Both said compared to the taste of their hen’s eggs, anything you get at the grocery store doesn’t compare.

“The eggs taste a lot fresher and a lot tastier,” Jeff Krebs said. “(I also sell them) for an 18-pack, $5.”

“It’s a good way for a 9-year-old to make a little bit of extra money,” Jenny Krebs said.

Leroy said an average hen will cost about $14, with a month supply of their food costing about $15.

But four hens will produce eight eggs within a week, according to Leroy, which is cheaper than buying a dozen of eggs at the store each week.

Meanwhile stores like Burger King, Whole Foods and Starbucks have already eliminated the sales of eggs from caged hens.

And more municipalities are welcoming backyard chickens.

“Chickens have been changed in a lot of different cities throughout the country from being considered live stock to domestic animals,” Leroy said.

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