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University of Kentucky poultry professor says Avian flu largely to blame for higher egg prices

According to a UK poultry professor, the chief cause of higher egg prices is the Avian flu, which led to the "depopulating" of 12 to 13 million hens.
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According to a UK poultry professor, the chief cause of higher egg prices is the Avian flu, which led to the "depopulating" of 12 to 13 million hens.

Eggs are costing more these days. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of a dozen reached $4.82 in January of ‘23, then dropped, but began creeping up again last fall. Tony Pescatore is an extension professor with the University of Kentucky’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences. He said an outbreak of avian influenza is the chief cause.

“We are trying to eradicate the disease by de-populating the birds that are sick. So what has happened is we've depopulated probably somewhere around 12 million to 13 million hens.”

Pescatore said another factor is the changing purchasing habits of American egg shoppers.

“We are transitioning from conventional eggs, raised, with birds in cages, to cage-free. And as we do that, we're changing how the industry responds as well. So we have that market adjustment occurring as well.”

Pescatore said almost 40 percent of eggs purchased in the U.S. are classified as “cage-free,” which is not the same as free-range. He predicts egg prices will drop this fall, when the hen population has been restored.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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