Area poultry farm meets high demand amid higher egg prices
SCHUYLERVILLE – For anyone wondering why the cost of eggs has skyrocketed so significantly in recent months, you could never blame the chickens on the Thomas Poultry Farm in Schuylerville. Those hens continue to do their job every day.
The Thomas Poultry Farm has been in operation since 1948. When their 200,000 chickens lay their daily eggs, it allows workers to process more than 14,000 dozens of fresh eggs every day, most of them destined for area Stewart’s Shops.
This comes at a time when Avian flu has killed off more than 47 million egg-laying birds nationwide.
“You can’t help but feel terrible for the people,” said Jennifer Thomas, “My husband and I say, “What are they doing? How do they get through this?
Jennifer says it’s nice to finally be able to operate in the black and pay off some of their bills.
“I hate to even say that out loud because it can hit us tomorrow,” she adds. “It’s an uneasy feeling (seeing migrating birds) because that’s how the Avian Flu spread. The droppings are left and somebody steps in it and then comes into contact with our birds, and that’s all it takes.”
That’s why bio-security remains a top priority on the farm, ever mindful of the nightmare it would be to replace an entire flock of chickens.
“There’s only a certain number of companies that grow baby chicks,” Jennifer points out, “it’s difficult for them to keep up with the demand to replace them. We have to order our baby chicks literally years in advance.”
Regarding bio-security, that is something that is always on your mind when you’re in the poultry business.
“You have to be careful not to let anyone on your farm or near your chickens,” Jennifer states, “Anybody going into the barn has to be absolutely clean, especially going from one barn to the next because you can’t contaminate. You have a foot bath that you dip your feet into.”
In the meantime, egg consumers, like Susan Smith of Gansevoort, are returning to the Thomas Farm, seeking freshness and an affordable price.
“I paid six dollars for three dozen eggs,” Smith declares proudly, “A few weeks ago when I walked into the grocery store, I paid ten bucks for 18 eggs so I decided to go back to the roots where I used to go as a kid and get cracked eggs.”
Jennifer Thomas predicts the price of eggs will stabilize in the coming weeks but cautions the price will likely rise again at Easter time when the demand always increases, but it will be short lived.
She also reiterates humans do NOT catch Avian Flu from birds, only the birds are at risk, and egg consumption is safe.