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Paola farmer prepares as egg prices expected to rise due to bird flu

Paola chicken farm
Posted at 5:34 PM, Apr 04, 2024

PAOLA, Kan. — Prices of eggs have continued to rise over the last couple of months.

With an outbreak of the bird flu in areas across the country, those prices are likely to increase.

Hedgewood Farms in Paola, Kansas, is focused on sustainable, organic products from eggs to cattle.

Their flock of 200 egg-laying chickens amounts to 160-70 eggs each day, which they’ve sold directly to consumers in the Kansas City area for the past nine years.

Marla Biggs, who owns Hedgewood Farms, said they have a consistent stream of customers who buy their products at farmer’s markets and online.

“But when supply goes down, then we see people coming saying, 'Hey, do you guys have eggs available?'" Biggs said.

Biggs said she hasn’t seen a rise in business just yet.

Sawyer Askren, the farm’s manager, said their chickens are less likely to be impacted by the bird flu because of the way they care for them.

“It’s something we want to be aware of and we know it’s happened before in the past around the country,” Askren said. “I think really coming back to the practices that we use and implement every day really tend to help us out."

Highly pathogenic avian influenza is responsible for the culling of more than 1.6 million chickens at a large Texas producer.

Missouri and Kansas have reported cases of bird flu this year. None of the reports online are close to Kansas City.

According to the USDA, the disease is more common in the fall and spring because of the migration of wild birds, which carry the disease.

Hedgewood Farms has a few layers of security for their flock: a large coop, electric fencing and a farm dog to watch over the land.

The team said their best line of defense is a visual check of any signs of sickness.

“If anybody was isolated in the corner, not moving around very well, that would be signs of concern for us,” Askren said.

Last week, dairy cows in Texas and Kansas were reportedly infected with bird flu.