Egg Laying: St. Regis Farm Sees Rise in Egg Sales


Over the past year, rising consumer prices have negatively affected every aspect of life. People feel the need at gas stations, department stores, rising insurance rates, their nest egg, and now the latest painful price increase even includes – Eggflation.

You might want to hold off on that omelette you wanted for breakfast. The cost of a dozen large eggs has doubled what you paid at this time last year. In some states, it has even tripled. According to the US consumer price index, in November 2021, the average price of eggs was from $1.72. In November 2022, this amount broke a record $5.59.

However, locally, if you can find a local smoker, you can catch a dozen fresh eggs from the farm for about $4. That’s how much Michelle Leitinger in St. Regis was selling her boxes two weeks ago. Soon after they shared the information that her and her husband’s estate had eggs for sale, the Sunleit family farms quickly sold out the eggs.

Michelle and her husband Taylor, along with their one-year-old son, have been raising farm-to-table pork and selling chicken and duck eggs since 2021.

Leitinger remarked, “Well, we just started advertising our farm in our local market through the Mineral County Facebook page, and we were blown away by the interest. We work very hard to offer the best price for a premium product.”

In terms of production, the Leitingers were well aware of the sudden shortage of eggs and the wild fluctuations in prices.

She noted: “Honestly, given what we see, it may take some time for the market to catch up with demand, or there may even be a permanent adjustment, it’s hard to say.”

Prices reflect several factors, given general inflation, supply chain issues and farmers facing devastating cases of bird flu. The country is now experiencing the deadliest outbreak of bird flu in history. Last year alone, the disease claimed the lives of more than 53 million birds.

“Combined with feed shortages and disease outbreaks, coupled with unsustainable practices, we are seeing a large shortage of birds and eggs. By maintaining a diverse herd and using excellent management strategies, we believe we have been able to sidestep any major issues while growing our herd,” Leitinger explained.

At the Sunleit family farms, the chickens, fortunately, have remained healthy. For the Leitingers, their biggest concern is to feed and make their chickens happy.

She said: “We occupy a niche in the market, which makes it difficult to find and buy feed. In addition to rising costs and availability, we are specifically purchasing feeds that are non-GMO, corn and soy.”

In spring and summer, they allow their animals to roam and graze freely, which helps keep costs down.

Sunleit Family Farms has about 20 hens and plans to triple that number this year, mostly laying hens. At some point, they may start raising meat chickens, but now their focus is on eggs.

Leitinger stated: “They have been excellent laying hens, some breeds produce more than others, but we are very happy with the numbers we are getting. There are times when the hens don’t lay eggs, and they can last for varying amounts of time.”

For several weeks in November and December they had minimal egg production. Most likely due to colder weather and molting in many chickens. Shedding is the natural process of shedding old feathers and growing new ones.

“We added some heat lamps and once they finished moulting we started getting six to seven eggs a day and now we are up to nine to twelve eggs a day,” Leitinger said.

She shared, “As a local farm, we support anyone who wants to learn how to raise animals responsibly and ethically.”

But of late, the Leitingers have definitely noticed a national trend; raising chickens as a hobby in the backyard, hoping for an easy return of eggs every morning.

“We saw the romanticism of this way of life, which may be true for many days, but there are many hard and unforgiving lessons between them. Like everything else, if not more, it takes time, dedication and hard work to keep animals alive. We just hope that anyone who plans to raise chickens or any other animal will take this very seriously,” Leitinger said.

In addition to the chickens at Sunleit Farm, the young family hopes to implement more sustainable practices and add more animals to the mix.

Leitinger elaborated: “Currently we have pigs, goats, chickens and ducks. My husband has been urging me to get a cow for some time now, so I’m sure this will be the next addition to our farm!”

They also offer a limited supply of their own premium pork and plan to increase their pig population this year.

The farm is run entirely by Leitinger and her husband.

She shared, “Personally, I have no professional experience in agriculture or animal husbandry, but this has always been my passion. My husband has always said that one day he would like to have a farm, and we have been together since we were 17.”

She continued, “Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a concentration in Plant Biology. He worked on many farms doing various agricultural jobs. We really both feel so grateful that we finally have our own land to do what we’ve always dreamed of doing.”

The best way to contact Michele for egg or pork availability is through their Facebook page, Sunleit Family Farms.

At the same time, how can you save money on eggs? Consider buying them in bulk and freezing them. The latest USDA egg market report shows that egg prices are beginning to decline. If you’re lucky, prices will even out before Easter, and if not, then this spring the children will draw potatoes.

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