Back in December of last year, the first reports of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) began trickling in from states in the Midwest and on the Pacific coast. Since then, over 43 million birds in 15 states have been culled in order to curb the worst avian flu outbreak in recent memory. There have been three major outbreaks in the United States prior to this one; first in 1924, then in 1983 and again in 2004.
Farms and CDC officials have been working around the clock to control the spread of the disease, but in spite of their efforts the outbreak has taken a serious toll on the egg market. In total, officials estimate that 10 percent of the country’s egg-laying chicken population has been afflicted with the virus.
As a result, the average price of eggs in the United States has more than doubled over the course of just a few months. The CDC is currently working on developing a vaccine for the virus, but it must be tested first before it can be distributed to farms. Even by the most conservative estimates, officials estimate that egg availability won’t fully recover for at least 12 months. There is some good news. The virus doesn’t spread as easily in warm weather, so the hot summer months may give officials a chance to get a handle on the highly infectious virus.
With grocery store egg prices at an all-time high, there’s never been a better time to raise your own flock of laying hens.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Cackle Coop!