240,000 Chickens Die in Florida Fire

Clint Thompson Florida, Poultry

At least 240,000 chickens died early on Thursday morning when a fire roared through two barns in Florida owned by one of the nation’s largest distributors of eggs.

The New York Times says the fire was reported at 1 a.m. by workers at the Cal-Maine Foods Facility in Dade County, Florida. Both barns destroyed by the fire contained two large coops, each containing more than 60,000 young hens, called pullets, which hadn’t started to lay eggs. The farm is in a rural county 40 miles northeast of Tampa. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the state’s fire marshal, who says the financial loss may amount to one million dollars.

The blaze is the newest in a rash of barn fires across the United States that have upset animal rights groups that have previously criticized Cal-Maine Foods about the conditions of its facilities. The company’s chief financial officer says 2% or 3% of the company’s pullets were lost in the fire, and it shouldn’t disrupt production.

(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)