California Chicken Cage and Egg Law

the amateur economist
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Many of you have no doubt heard of the goings on in the great state of California about chickens and their (hens at least on most days) by-product, eggs; the California Chicken Cage and Egg law.

Back in 2008, by a 63% majority, Californians passed Proposition 2, or the Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Effective January 1, 2015, (several chicken cage testing years later) the state mandates that all chicken eggs sold in California must come from chickens that live in larger cages. Hens must be in cages with enough space to stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around. No mention about new decor or access to cable however. More about the California chicken and egg debate presented by NPRthe amateur economist

So why all the fuss? From an economics standpoint, since Californians eat more chicken eggs than any other state, it’s possible and probable that if chicken farmers want to sell their eggs in California, they will need to spend money (or reduce the number of animals in each cage) to sell eggs in the nation’s number one egg market. And since the state has to import more than 1/3 of its eggs from other states – will these egg farmers from other states spend the money to modify their cages?

At the very least, egg eaters in California will see their own prices go way up – increases of at least 35% to 70%. And with average egg prices at $2.00, that’s a leap!

Will egg prices increase where you live because of this new mandate in California?  Hard to tell – though probably not. There is a remote possibility they may drop a bit as certain chicken farmers may decide the cost of chicken cage upgrades simply isn’t worth it, and stop selling eggs in California. This would increase the supply of eggs in other states, possibly lowering the cost for eggs outside the state of California.

So discussing chickens and eggs has reminded of a chicken joke. Enjoy!

 A chicken walks into a library and goes up to the librarian and says, “book book.” So the librarian gives him two books and he walks away. The next day, the chicken walks up to the librarian again and says, “book book.” The librarian again complies but wonders what the chicken is doing with the books, so she follows him out the door to a pond. She then sees the chicken holding up the books to a frog and then the frog saying, “Red it, red it.” 

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