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Daybreak Foods burying chickens

By Staff | May 20, 2015

By LARRY KERSHNER

kersh@farm-news.com

VINCENT – An Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman confirmed Tuesday morning that a commercial egg-laying company is burying dead chickens that died of or were euthanized because of the avian flu outbreak.

Daybreak Foods, which owns and operates multiple chicken confinements, was stricken with the avian flu on May 4. According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the number of birds affected with the virus or needed to be euthanized was more than 2 million.

Jeremy Klatt, an environmental specialist in the Mason City office of DNR, said his office met with Daybreak officials last week and advised the company on how to dispose of the chickens.

Klatt said DNR advised company officials according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Animal Disease response plan.

Daybreak was directed, he said, to bury the carcasses in shallow trenches so the birds can be spread out, rather than dumped into a large hole.

In addition, the trenches must be 200 feet or farther from any surface waterway or tile line.

The egg-laying facility is about a mile from the Boone River in Wright County, but Klatt said there were a couple of drainage ditches nearby; DNR instructed Daybreak to stay farther than 200 feet from them.

At the time of the consultation, Klatt said it was unknown how dead chickens would be buried. That number is still not unknown by DNR. Klatt said his office will be following up with Daybreak.

However, he said as long as the company continues to dispose of the birds according to the FAD plan, the number of birds is not a critical factor.

The FAD requires disposed animals can be dumped into an unlined trench no deeper than three feet, with a minimum of two feet of dirt piled on top.

If leachate from decaying carcasses get into groundwater or surface waters, the cost of the remediation would likely rest with Daybreak Foods, the FAD plan states.

A call to Bill Rehm, president of Daybreak, was not returned by press time.

According to IDALS, there have been three cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in Wright County affecting almost 4 million laying hens and 809,000 pullets.

On Monday, IDALS reported four new cases, two turkey facilities in Sac County and two backyard flocks – 50 ducks and 12 chickens – in Sioux County.

In Iowa, 23 million laying hens have been affected by the virus, plus 1.6 million pullets, 966,700 turkeys, 18,791 birds at one Kossuth County hatchery, 747 backyard chickens and 75 ducks.

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