Saturday, February 26, 2022

Will chicken skyrocket?

In mid-January, I took a trip to the city to stock up on some items. One of my favorite places to shop is Chef's Store (formerly Cash'n'Carry), a restaurant supply store which is excellent for purchasing bulk quantities of things.

While there, I asked about the availability of a 40-lb. box of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts, since I had it in mind to can up some additional chicken. The fellow shook his head and said they have it in stock, but I wouldn't like the price.

"How much?" I asked.

"$110," he replied, himself scandalized. "It dropped to $80 for a while, then went up to $110."

That's $2.75 per pound, bulk. I decided not to get the chicken breasts.

However today, I noticed an article entitled "Bird flu detected in Michigan flock, federal authorities say." The article reported, "The virus strain is potentially deadly to commercial poultry. The bird flu cases are among the latest in the U.S. that have put farms that raise turkeys and chickens for meat and eggs on high alert, fearing a repeat of a 2015 bird flu outbreak that killed 50 million birds across 15 states and cost the federal government nearly $1 billion."

Now I wished I'd bought that case of chicken breasts back in mid-January.

So this morning I called Chef's Store and inquired if they had cases of chicken breasts in stock – they did – and what was the price?

$135 for a 40-lb. box. That's $3.37/pound. Now I really wished I'd bought that case of chicken breasts a month ago.

Don and I talked it over and decided we would not purchase the chicken. I still have some canned up in the pantry.

However the fact that bulk chicken breasts leaped from $2.75/lb to $3.37/lb over the course of five weeks – a 22.5% increase – is disturbing. Now if the bird flu takes off, that could ratchet prices up even higher.

If anyone's in the market for chicken to can or freeze, I wouldn't waste any time.

(Addendum: Due to a Google glitch, I can't reply to comments. Someone asked what I do with canned chicken. Usually I make chicken pot pies with it, but of course it's excellent for soups, stews, or anything else where shredded chicken is an ingredient.)

22 comments:

  1. Patrice,
    What do you do with your canned up chicken?
    Debbie in MA

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  2. I've been paying $3 + per lb for boneless skinless breasts for quite some time. Years. At a local grocery. Found out not long ago Walmart is cheaper, but betting it's selling out with the news. Skin on legs and thighs have been $1.50 a lb for a long time too.
    It may be time to see if that neighbor with way too many chickens you commented on recently would be willing to part with some. Eggs are already zooming. Good luck.

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  3. We have raised and butchered our own meat birds the last few years. I can up about three fourths of the meat, use the carcasses for stock. I also include chicken-based meals in quart jars, including pot pie filling (but not thickened). Hope to continue every year. DIdn't you raise those huge black chickens at your old place that were both meat and egg birds? Can't remember the name of them. Maybe you could get some more of those? Like soon.......

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  4. My daughter and I decided to can up a mess of chicken breasts last week for the very same reason. Unfortunately, our major grocery store was out of the chicken we'd wanted. 😮 I am anxiously watching for them to get a new truckload in. Hopefully there will be another...

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  5. We have hens, got ourselves a rooster, and bought an incubator. I think that the pantry has enough jars of chicken to last us until its time to process some roosters. I was sort of hoping that since we've retired, we don't have to go that route any more....there is a joke about making plans, right?

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  6. Another year of disease pestulance and war....!

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  7. Why not raise some Cornish cross? I'm actually surprised you haven't added chickens to your homestead yet. I would think chickens and a source for milk would be pretty high priorities for you , especially with everything going on in the world right now.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, we're not crazy about Cornish crosses. We've tried them before, and while you can get them up to weight fast, they're just a bit too freakish for our tastes. As far as getting up to speed on chickens goes, they're just on item on the long list of priorities. We're surrounded by neighbors who've tried to give us extra chickens. But until we have the coop and yard set up (materials are on-site - waiting for the weather to break), that priority can wait. Plus we have a pretty good incubator, so we can always hatch our own. And there's enough chicken in the pantry to tide us over for a while.

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    2. We had the Cornish crosses...once. Now we have cross-bred chickens that survived the harsh conditions here in Florida that produce eggs on a minimum of feed but much prefer bugs and weeds for a meal. They don't have the big, meaty carcasses of the Cornish crosses but there are a LOT of them and they're practically free.

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  8. I'm baking chicken at this very moment. Have been purchasing chicken and dehydrating/vaccume packing like mad, for a couple months. This chicken I'm baking today, was purchased about a month ago, last time I was in a grocery store. I get eggs from my farmer neighbor, and was wondering about purchasing meat from him, eventually. (It' also dawned on me that I have a shed that could work as a chicken coup....someone advised me "raise meat chickens, the farmers are layers'} I'd rather trade with my farmer friend. He says the all the farmers in our community are now spending millions on security equipment, very upsetting to him and the others. A few months ago he said "I'd rather just give a cow to a hungry family, than have them steal it. Just ask me." Now he says 'you almost have to hire armed guards to protect everything' including ..fuel. Prayers needed.

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  9. WINCO in sw Idaho has 10# of frozen leg quarters for $6.98/pound. We can it for our dogs to mix in with their crunchies since it's cheaper than canned dog food and some for our enjoyment. If you pressure can it long enough the bones get soft.

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  10. the stores around here have been consistently out of their usual chicken breasts, both bone in and boneless, and many other chicken products like patties and some nuggets.
    The more expensive brands have more selection of those other products, but still not their usual selection.
    The only fresh chicken breast I've seen recently were organic at $6+ lb.
    I hadn't heard about the bird flu in Michigan, but it doesn't surprise me - its been present recently in a bunch of other places.

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  11. Chicken for sure, have you tried butter?? Some months ago I went to the Chef store and they had a case of butter in one pound blocks. The case holds 30 blocks and it was under $40.00 I don't remember the exact amount. And yes it was on sale. I snagged a case. I bag them up in freezer bags and I still have some but thought I would like to restock, when I checked at the same store that same box was, are you ready? $118.?? I had to pass it up, and I will go on the hunt for my restocking adventure of butter.

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    Replies
    1. Butter prices tend to take a deep dive around Thanksgiving and Christmas, then go back up in the new year. I usually stock up during holidays and let it ride afterwards. But with all the Russian hoopla, who knows. With them wanting to target our infrastructure, it might be good to take a moderate approach to purchases instead of all or nothing for things we may need. That way if we have some sort of problem we've made interim preparation to get to the best purchase situation later.

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  12. And while on the subject of zooming prices, just tried to reorder propane. It's up almost $1 gal from a few months ago. Fortunately I had a promo card and it almost compensated for the uptake in price, which a few months ago was the highest I'd ever paid. If you're going to need it at all next winter, and have room in your tank, it's probably only going to get higher.
    As far as chickens go, I wouldn't just be thinking fencing and coop, but how to quarantine them as well. Seems just like yesterday bird flu went around and people with private flocks were forced to destroy them. Not all, but who knows where that disease will travel to. Just something else to add to the list of things to think about and try and prepare for.
    I for one am about to start paring down on bird hangouts around my house.

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  13. This has nothing to do with chickens, but I sure wish some of the past contributors would post again. With what we're dealing with right now, we could benefit from their expertise.

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  14. I used to give away our excess roosters. I told the people taking them over the past year that they needed to use some of my stock to raise their own because I could see that the price of grocery-store chicken would be beyond most people's budgets in the near future. I told them that the time would be soon when we would need the chickens that I raise to feed us, our children, and our grandchildren.

    I gave away my last free chickens in January and told them that this was it. I am now getting besieged by calls for chickens. I gave them breeding stock (which they sold or butchered).

    How can people wander through life completely unaware of what is happening around them? They have access to the same information that I do. They shop at the same grocery stores where I shop. Sadly, they cannot seem to look at failed wheat and corn harvests, rising feed prices, rising transportation prices, and empty grocery store shelves and connect the dots.

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  15. Just pain $1.99 a pound up here at Walmart in northen NH.

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