Egg price gouging

As I mentioned up-thread, part of the price spike beginning in 2021 (which the chart confirms) was due to CA passing Proposition12, which requires that animals held in buildings, such as laying hens, breeding sows, or veal calves, “be housed in confinement systems that comply with specific standards for freedom of movement, cage-free design, and minimum floor space.”


Conspiracy Theory:

Major consumer-facing chicken feed producers colluded with major egg producers, changing chicken feed [somehow] such that backyard laying hens to stop laying. Thus the [tiny percentage of consuming public] dependent on the home grower is forced to buy commercial eggs.

Silly. But anecdotally, maybe there could be something wrong with the feed. I’ve a couple of friends in different states who have a mix of laying hens and older hens.

I had a call from one friend last night and he mentioned his flock suddenly stopped laying when he started a new bag of feed in October. They mainly graze for bugs and greenery and what not, but he supplements with feed (says domestic hens, unlike wild fowl, really can’t get enough by foraging alone). He normally gets about 15-20 eggs per day in winter, about half what he gets in summer. So I called the other friend this morning and he’s seen the same issue. He has a smaller flock and gets 8-10 per day in winter - but then, none, after he started a new bag of feed about 2 months ago.

The first friend got a second feed bag with different lot number, and tried that for a week. No laying. Then he stopped feeding (foraging only) and within 2 days all of his younger/laying hens were laying again. He let that go a few more days, then started feed from yet another new bag and within a few days they’d all stopped laying.

He’s repeated this several cycles now with the same results. He plans to keep cycling but said he’s also going to look for new brands of feed, and will play around with how much supplementation they actually need by reducing from his usual and watching for weight loss.

I told the other friend about the first one’s results so he’s going to try withholding feed for a few days to see what happens. He’s been playing with lighting and trying various other stuff so far.

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Wow that’s certainly suspicious! Is the feed imported? In any case maybe contact other egg biz folk & compare info.

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Egg prices are coming down now The timing fits with the flu losses, but I like the feed theory. Recently a balloon flew over from China targeting chicken feed.


pretty diabolical clever combining the car warranty thing w/ incompetently made feed. :thinking: :grin:

Mostly it reminds me of the times raw material producers of several US national brand pet foods have adulterated their product for gain. Add a bit of melamine and the raw protein analysis will come out higher.

Unfortunately it also is pretty hard on the kidneys, especially in older pets, even in low levels. But I don’t recall hearing about something like this happening in at least 10 years.

Dog food, cat food, fish food, even baby formula has been messed with like this.

Who knows about the chicken feed, but it could be some accidental RM contam or deficiency. Seems too neat, though, even given my one friend’s experience with the on/off nature of it.

And coincidence does happen, that’s why we have a word for it.

Edit - wait, what’s the car warranty thing?



2 quotes come to mind:

Don’t ascribe to malice what can be plainly explained by incompetence.

Once is bad luck, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action


Oh, haha. Thanks - I think I’ll borrow that one.

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A very key takeaway is that participating at the cash end of a production/distribution chain laden with variables does not necessarily an expert make.


On the other hand, on average, supermarkets operate on a profit margin of around 2% of sales. There’s a large amount of spoilage and, of course, some theft, in addition to other operating costs.

These two eggs came from the same carton. In all fairness I did purchase “medium” eggs because they were on a “clearance sale”. I just found it odd how different the size was from the same carton.

Size is based on carton weight, not individual egg weight.

I didn’t know that… In the past all of the medium eggs I had purchased were smaller than the large. I assumed they had a machine that sorted and packaged them according to size.


Oh, I’m sure they do. All the eggs in a carton are going to be more or less the same size. You’d have trouble getting a carton of jumbos if jumbo eggs occasionally wandered into the mediums.

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$8.77 - WM 18 count X-Large eggs for weeks now. Today - $5.64. The egg prices are a changin’.


Most producers do. While the official USDA answer is that 12 medium must weigh not less than X, and 12 large must not weigh less than Y, it’d be pretty hard to consistently hit those targets if you weren’t sorting individuals by mass to begin with.

I mentioned upthread that I’ve tested all the eggs from a large chain grocer and they were close, 1-2 grams variation, but Aldi’s large had large variation within in a single dozen. Usually the dozen still met target, but a few times were underweight.

I wonder if producers have a bit of leeway, for example they might not be going against the regs so long as the number of low-weight cartons is outweighed (pun) by the high-weight cartons?

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