While the cost of chicken eggs has remained “pretty much the same” for five years, the funds needed to feed egg-laying hens has increased “77 percent” for farmer Ryan Melbourne, who runs Woodlands Farm in Weston-Super-Mare. Mr Melbourne expressed concern voiced across the farming board that the cost of living crisis is putting chicken farmers out of business.
Speaking to GB News, Mr Melbourne said: “Our hens are an egg-laying breed so there’s not a lot of meat on them. Eggs are what they do.
“We are looking at diversifying. We have a few different ideas. But everything comes at a cost, particularly set up costs in exploring different things.
“At the moment, the hens are not making any money so we can’t save up any money to diversify into other projects.
“Next year, we will have at least half the chickens, and that’s if we have any. It just all depends on the egg price.”
“That has to go up to make free-range eggs viable. Unless the wholesaler price goes up now, at least 20 to 30p a dozen, then realistically, we are going to struggle to get chickens again.”
“We’ve been here five years and in that time we’ve had a 77 percent increase in our feed costs.
But our egg costs that we get from our buyers have stayed pretty much the same in that time, so it’s a massive problem.
“In the last month alone, the price has gone up 25 percent so it’s a huge problem for us, especially with the energy prices going up as well.”
READ MORE: The Yorkshire Vet ‘very concerned’ farmers will ‘lose business’ [REVEAL]
Without a concurrent increase in the wholesale prices of chicken eggs and chickens themselves, consumers could face soaring costs for their meat.
Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op, warned that chicken could become “as expensive as beef” amid this crisis.
He said: “Chicken could become as expensive as beef. Chicken, which was incredibly cheap and great value for money, is rising quicker than any other protein”.
The current price for chicken is £2.98 per kg, while for beef mince it is £6.78 per kg following a similar rise.