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As Arizona egg prices spike, more people are getting backyard chickens

Egg prices are up — and there’s no relief in sight, thanks to an avian flu outbreak that killed tens of millions of chickens.

But not Amy McSheffrey’s. The Phoenix resident keeps 13 chickens in her backyard on the outskirts of the Arcadia neighborhood. McSheffrey’s ladies deliver about eight eggs per day, and while that’s not the only reason she keeps chickens, it’s definitely a bonus.

She’s not alone. In fact, backyard chickens are so popular in the Valley that it might be hard to find chicks.

Dan Pratt is the owner of Pratt’s Pets in Glendale, El Mirage and Mesa. He said more people have been buying chicks as egg prices soar.

“We have been selling lots of chicks,” Pratt said. “It’s been trending since well before COVID, but even more so there was a larger bump when COVID hit and people decided that there was more of a trend of people wanting to raise their own chickens for egg production ... And we’re seeing it now where the prices of eggs are so high that we’re seeing even more interest in raising your own chickens for egg production.”

You can’t just buy chickens, throw them in your backyard and wait for eggs. It takes a lot of work to make sure the flock is safe, happy and healthy. It’s been a learning curve for McSheffrey, who has lost birds to predators before.

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Amber Victoria Singer is a producer for KJZZ's The Show. Singer is a graduate of the Water Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.