Nearly 40 chicken houses were damaged or destroyed by the weight of heavy snow last week.
More than three dozen chicken houses in Delaware suffered damage as a result of last week’s double dose of snow. State Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee says 37 chicken houses suffered roof collapses or other damage because of the weight of heavy snow resting on top of the buildings.
Kee says some chickens were killed, but not a majority that had been living inside the structures. “Probably 10 of the 37 were empty at the time, so that made life a little easier. Where they collapsed and there were birds, a lot of those birds had been either taken to market or have been relocated to other houses,” said Kee. He says some of the birds were able to find shelter in the center of their chicken house where the peak of the roof provided a safe space to avoid being crushed.
Kee says it’s too early to put a dollar figure on the cost of the damage, but the state is looking at the possibility of applying for federal disaster assistance. “A lot of growers have insurance on the structure and then also some catastrophic insurance for income,” said Kee. The Agriculture Department is also working with growers to help clean up the damage.
Kee says there are certainly lessons that can be learned from this storm, “I’m sure this experience will lead to some structural improvements, strengthening really.”