As of November 2023, no flocks within our Pete & Gerry’s network of partner farms have been directly impacted by Avian Influenza. For the latest updates on Avian Influenza and the price of eggs at the store, learn more here.
Keeping our hens safe and healthy has always been a top priority for the Pete & Gerry’s family of brands (Pete & Gerry’s Organic, Pete & Gerry’s Pasture-Raised, and Nellie’s Free Range). Just as our commitment to Certified B Corporation principles shapes our belief in a better way of doing business, our commitment to holistic farming practices guides our mission of delivering special care to every hen in our farmers’ flocks. So, as we continue to keep a watchful eye on the rising number of birds impacted by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), we’re here with an honest update on the situation and our team’s commitment to keeping our gorgeous gals as healthy as possible.
What is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and how does it spread?
Avian Influenza is a highly contagious disease primarily affecting birds. Rises in Avian Influenza typically occur throughout the spring and fall during migratory bird seasons. Cases of Avian Influenza may be classified as either Low or High Pathogenicity, with both spreading easily through wild bird populations. It’s Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, however, that has caused scientists, farmers, and grocery shoppers to be more concerned. Though HPAI may not cause severe illness in wild birds, the disease often has fatal consequences for domestic species like chickens and turkeys. HPAI can spread quickly from the bodily fluids or feces of wild birds either directly or by way of people, vehicles, or other animals to domestic agricultural operations, meaning both backyard flocks and commercial farms are at risk.
Biosecurity on our farms
At Pete & Gerry’s, we are fortunate to have remained safe from the sharpest blows of HPAI, largely due to our network of farmers, farm support team, and a steadfast commitment to biosecurity and heightened vigilance during these periods of increased risk. As our VP of Farming, Kevin Phelps, and his team of specialists explain, for Pete & Gerry’s, “it comes down to being diligent with enhanced biosecurity practices, proper planning on facility location and size, and hard work from our family farm partners.”
We have always been committed to humane treatment, ensuring our hens have ample room to roam outdoors and safe, spacious indoor living when needed. While our free-range and pasture-raised hens prefer to stroll outdoors and under the sun, time outdoors is not the safest option during times of increased risk, such as a local outbreak of HPAI or an abundance of migratory waterfowl in the immediate area. To help protect our flocks from illness during times such as these, farmers are recommended to keep their flocks inside the barn. We follow the guidance set by veterinarians and poultry specialists and work closely with our farmer partners to make the most responsible decision for our flocks.
Avian Influenza and the price of eggs at the store
Eggs are one of many cooking staples whose prices have fluctuated in recent years, and grocery shoppers everywhere have noticed. It would be hard not to when a staggering 68 million birds from commercial poultry facilities, hobby farms, and backyard flocks were affected by HPAI between January 2022 and November 2023. Fewer laying hens producing for commercial farms means a lower national egg supply, all while demand for affordable protein sources remains steady. This imbalance of supply and demand can lead to nationwide egg shortages and, when paired with changes in costs of fuel and feed, an increase in egg prices. During these times, we do our best to maintain a strong supply and keep prices accessible for our consumers.
Healthy farms, healthy flocks
For shoppers seeking an earth-friendly source of protein, you can always count on our promise of delivering healthy eggs from healthy hens for a healthy planet. We will continue to share updates as the situation develops and offer unwavering support to our partner farmers. As pioneers of a better way of raising eggs and advocates for hen welfare, we are confident that we have the experience and dedication needed to continue reducing the risk of disease on our partner farms..
For questions about the current risk of Avian Influenza at our farms, send us an email at email@example.com or subscribe to our monthly emails for the latest updates.