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As egg prices soar, new bills would allow Texans to have chickens in backyard

Texans are currently paying between roughly $4 and nearly $9 for a dozen eggs.

Published: February 23, 2023 4:10pm

Updated: February 27, 2023 6:34am

(The Center Square) -

As egg prices continue to soar, new bills filed in the state legislature would allow Texans to have chickens in their backyards.

Texans are currently paying between roughly $4 and nearly $9 for a dozen eggs at HEB, for example, equal to or more than the cost of cooked rotisserie chickens.

“Inflationary pressure and the worst avian flu outbreak in U.S. history have combined to send egg prices upward over much of the last year,” David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, Bryan-College Station, said in an AgriLife Today report. AgriLife points to a U.S. Department of Agriculture retail egg report showing that a dozen eggs cost $1.79 in December 2021 and $4.25 on average in December 2022 nationwide.

“One reporter in Houston interviewed a backyard producer who told them this is the first time ever that it’s been cheaper to produce eggs than buy them at the store,” Anderson said. “The situation with egg prices is something people are following now, but I think it is also something that happened over the course of time with several factors aligning.”

In response to continued demand, constrained supply and rising prices, Republican and Democratic lawmakers proposed bills to allow more Texans to have egg-laying hens in their backyards.

State Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, filed SB 326 to amend Chapter 217 of Local Government Code to allow six chickens in a single-family residential lot. The bill allows municipalities to impose some “reasonable regulations.” It also prohibits poultry breeding, raising or keeping roosters, and imposes a minimum distance between a chicken coop and another lot.

In the House, state Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Baytown, and Rep. Philip Cortez, D-San Antonio, filed similar bills. Cortez’s bill would prohibit municipalities from adopting or enforcing an ordinance that restricts single-family residential lots from growing fruits and vegetable or raising or keeping six or fewer domestic fowl or six or fewer adult rabbits.

His bill also states that municipalities may impose reasonable regulations to control odor, noise, safety, or sanitary conditions that don’t “have the effect of prohibiting the raising or keeping of the fowl or rabbits.”

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