NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The sound of chickens is one Michael Maples didn’t imagine he’d be hearing everyday.
“Never did I think I’d be a chicken farmer,” he said. “Never.”
But roughly four years later, Maples is in fact a chicken farmer, running Maples Farm Fresh Eggs in Nashville.
“Neighbors started asking for eggs, and so then we got more chickens and more chickens, and now, any given time we can have between 300 and 800 chickens,” he said.
It was a few weeks ago though that the demand for eggs came on his radar.
“Somebody called and told me that eggs were in the news and that we should raise our prices, and I thought, why would I raise my prices because eggs are in the news?” said Maples. “Sure enough right after that people started rushing to the shelves and taking all the eggs.”
Maples believes a lot of this is being caused by fear.
“The industry seems like it’s really trying to capitalize on the fact that people are scared that there’s not going to be eggs. So, that’s actually what’s causing the price to go up,” he said.
This growing need is something he says is actually hurting his business right now.
“We’re actually losing money on eggs because we refuse to raise our prices while all of the growers and all of the feed costs are rising up just because of the demand,” said Maples.
While Maples doesn’t know how long this will last, he says right now he doesn’t plan on changing his prices.
“We’re going to be here,” he said. “We’re going to sell eggs at five dollars a dozen like we always have for as long as we can until the industry actually pushes us to where we can’t simply afford to do it anymore.”
Farmer-led advocacy group Farm Action recently sent a letter to the FTC asking to investigate these record-high prices.
The Tennessee State Veterinarian announced recently that avian influenza was detected in a commercial broiler chicken flock at a farm in Weakley County.
They claim since September 2022, cases have been spotted in domesticated chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys in Bledsoe, Davidson, Obion, Tipton and Weakley counties.