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Texas

The Cypress family gets eggs from backyard hens as prices rise

AJ Mitchell got rid of her chickens a few years ago but brought them back to her backyard when she saw the price of eggs go up.

HOUSTON. With the price of eggs on the rise, some shoppers are taking matters into their own hands and moving the grocery store into their backyard.

Take, for example, Cypress resident AJ Mitchell.

“Usually they call me mother chicken,” Mitchell said.

She’s had chickens for almost a decade, but for the last few years she’s been sending them to a friend’s farm. That was about six months ago.

“Once we started hearing a bit about bird flu and the destruction of a lot of commercial flocks, you know, we sort of saw the writing on the wall,” Mitchell said.

She climbed up and gathered her pack again. Now, instead of buying eggs from the store, her family chooses them herself.

“They are no longer freeloaders. Now they are paying rent,” Mitchell said of her flock of chickens. And now, obviously, their rents are going up along with all prices going up.”

According to the US consumer price index, eggs have risen in price by 60% over the past year.

“Egg farmers in Texas and egg producers in the United States are working hard to keep our prices down,” says J.C. Essler, executive vice president of the Texas Poultry Federation.

He says that while bird flu is a major factor, there are a number of factors that affect the price of eggs.

“We are also seeing an increase in costs due to the contribution of our feed, labor or fuel packaging,” Essler said.

But Essler believes prices are on a downward trend.

“Wholesale prices have been coming down in recent weeks,” he says.

This is good news for families who don’t have their own chickens but rely on the same nutritional value.

“With three kids it’s really hard to make sure they’re getting plenty of protein,” Mitchell said.

If you want to have your own flock, AJ recommends that you do a lot of research, but she said the eggs speak for themselves.

“Honestly, it couldn’t be better,” Mitchell says.

For more information about keeping your own chickens or starting your own herd, AJ encourages people to join the Houston Area Backyard Chickens Facebook group and visit TheHappyChickenCoop.com.

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