Being a chicken-less egg farmer is bleak, desolate even. But that’s where we’re at — at least at our Wrenshall location. As you’ve likely heard, avian bird flu is sweeping the Midwest and taking millions of turkeys and chickens with it. The governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa have officially declared the epidemic a state of emergency. Clearly, it’s been a tragedy for many, many farms.
And because of it, we will not get a new flock of birds at our home farm until later in May. While that’s right around the corner, it truly bums us out.
(By the way, have you noticed how BIG some of these operations are? One Iowa location lost 3.7 millions chickens. That’s a lot of birds for one farmer. We continue to micro-brood our eggs with small flock sizes.)
Fortunately, we have our partner farms still producing eggs in the same way as our Northland location. And
because of our connections with poultry specialists, we’ve known about the bird flu for months in advance. This education enabled us to spread the word about bio-security measures. These include disinfecting boots before entering barns (to avoid bringing wild bird fecal matter in from fields) and other increased sanitation. (If you have a backyard flock, click on the right-hand photo to learn how to protect your home birds.)
While we hope our girls enjoy a more robust immune system than their confined cousins, our partner farmers aren’t going to risk having them on pasture just yet. This pathogen, spread by migrating wild birds, loves cool, damp spring weather. So, we’ll follow the experts advice and keep our LoLa hens in until mid-May.
As much as we hate keeping good birds indoors, we just can’t play chicken with our entire flock.