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Urban farmers see boost in business as eggs remain scarce in grocery stores

One farmer says the interest is actually making it harder to grow her flock
Posted at 5:59 AM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 07:59:19-05

DENVER — Shoppers are beginning to look outside the grocery store for their eggs as many stores are unable to keep them in stock.

People are turning to urban farmers, or people living in urban or suburban areas that use their yards as farmland.

"This is my homestead, so I call it that," said Kourtnie Burse who raises chickens in her backyard in Denver. "I'm an urban farmer. So it's here in the city but with a not-so-big space, you can do a lot. I love it."

It's been one of her dreams to be able to raise a flock right in her backyard and like any good urban farmer, she takes great care of her hens.

"They're munching on some cracked corn, we have a little bit of sunflower seed kernels in there, also peanuts, and just other little nuts and things like that," Burse said.


It's a point of pride to have cage-free, free range, organic eggs from her six hens. She even feeds them organic vegetables every day. A dozen goes for $8.00.

"If you feed them really good and keep them healthy, they will keep producing. So I don't have any issues with producing," she said.

Over the last year, Burse has brought in some repeat customers through word-of-mouth and selling eggs through online posts.

Lately something has changed. As store shelves have been empty, Burse's inbox has been filled with requests for eggs.

"It's been booming. I want to say like, on a daily basis, I'm getting like, one to two people reaching out like, 'Hey, do you have some eggs available?,'" said Burse who also said she's having a hard time keeping up with the new demand. Sometimes she needs to delay customers a week or so to give her small flock time to fill the order.

She is hoping to expand her flock with new hens, but has found that's also a challenge as more people are trying to solve the egg shortage in their own backyard too.

"It's been hard because a lot of people are trying to start their own flocks as well, which makes the prices go up," she said.

Even with the added headaches in expanding her operation, Burse said she is in full support of anyone who wants to become a beginner urban farmer.

"I'm all for it. I'm all for living off the land and natural resources. I would say go for it," she said.

If you sell fewer than 40 cases (with one case equaling 30 dozen eggs) you are exempt from licensing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

"Whenever anyone reached out and they're like, 'Hey, what do you feed your hens? What do you do for this?' I give out as much information as I possibly can because I support it. 100%," said Burse, "Start small and just do what you can, start small, a little bit each day and you will be thriving in no time."