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Rising prices put bite on animal owners

Livestock feed and pet food cost spiking
Posted at 7:03 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 07:47:20-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Rising costs, especially fuel costs are rippling through our lives. Now they’re affecting our best friends—the animals in our lives. There is almost nothing rising fuel costs will not affect. Maybe you were already upset—--but now it’s starting to get to what we feed our animals.

If you think chicken feed means something that’s cheap, you have not priced chicken feed lately.

Will Feirstock manages OK Feed and Pet Supply

“A bag of scratch a year ago. I think we retailed for $13.99. And it's up to $16-$17.99 at points,” Feirstock said.

Feirstock says his profit margins are still low while his costs are spiking. He says a bale of hay that retailed for 14 dollars a year ago, might be 18 to 21 dollars now.

Feirstock says when people buy food for themselves or their animals they don’t always appreciate how fuel costs affect every part of the process.

“Farmers are going to use tractors, right? They use tractors to harvest. They use tractors to plant. They use tractors to transport to a processor. They're going to use the tractor to transport from the processor to the manufacturer, from the manufacturer to the distributor. And so they're using the semi trucks every point from a B, C, D, and then from the distributor to us.”

He says fuel costs affect more than the cost of hay for hungry horses. They add an extra bite to the cost of pet food.

Bruce Hawk says he’s feeding his house cats, and feral cats in his neighborhood.

“We buy large stocks and a big bag of cat food is a lot of money," hawk said. "And so our pets we have several at home. We've adopted pets from PACC and we tried to feed them well and take care of them. And it's an extra expense but everything it's just like everything else.”

At Holy Cow Tack and Feed, Lynn McKinney says some people are giving away horses they can’t afford to feed.

She says besides fuel impacts, drought and water use restrictions have reduced crops for animal feed. And she’s worried war in Ukraine could affect the raw material for a lot of animal food.

“40 percent of the corn that we use worldwide is produced in the Ukraine so that is going to be an issue coming up here," McKinney said. "Wheat—a lot of the wheat production is from Ukraine. So what's happening over there right now is going to affect the prices of everything.”

The feed stores say when prices go up their profit margins don’t and they may shave margins even more to help customers feed their animals.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.