KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Cion Hamilton has raised chickens almost her whole life. She said it's always been more fun than work -- until this summer.
"Well, I wasn't looking forward to coming out here in 106-degree weather to gather eggs in the barn that was 123 (degrees)," she explained.
She's only raising half of her usual 1,000 chickens because it's too hot and crowded inside the hen house. Dozens have died in the heat.
"And I would have lost a lot more because they have a tendency to crowd up, cuddle up," Hamilton said.
The animals that survived are laying fewer eggs. She's getting only one-third of normal production because they are eating and drinking less.
Hamilton sells the eggs out of her garage south of Olathe, Kan., and said she will probably have to pass the cost on to her customers.
"If I go into the winter and they don't come up, I will have lost money for the first time in my life," she said.
They're losing out at Nature's Own Health Market in Kansas City as well. The store just restocked its selection of local, organic eggs, but grocery manager Jesse Reed-Schall said they won't last long.
"These will be gone by tomorrow afternoon and they won't be back for six days," Reed-Schall said.
The Campo Lindo eggs come with an apology from the farm, saying they will likely have to raise their prices. Reed-Schall said they just hope to keep them in stock for customers' sakes.
"Well they're disappointed. They come here expecting the product, we don't have it," Reed-Schall said.
A big part of the problem is also feed corn, which is very expensive right now. Hamilton buys three tons of it ever few weeks at $.24 per pound. Last summer, she paid $.18 per pound.
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