A storm that touched down in Crenshaw County, Ala., left two poultry farms heavily damaged and the owners thankful no one was injured.
David Pippin, 67,whose farm is in the Live Oak Community about three miles west of U.S. Highway 331 on County Road 50, said he slept through the storm. He was awakened by his wife when winds began to gust and the power went out.
“I looked outside and saw all the stuff strewn across the backyard and knew I had to go check on the chickens,” said Pippin, who’s had his poultry farm for 23 years and is a longtime Alfa Insurance customer.
It was still dark outside, but as he made his way up the hill to his poultry houses, Pippin said his heart sank when he saw all three were collapsed and on the ground.
“My first reaction was this is gonna be a lot of work,” he said. “Then I thought about all those chickens. I really felt bad for them.”
While the poultry houses appeared to be flattened, there was a small space a few feet tall where most of the chickens could move inside the collapsed structures. Within hours, workers were busy picking up debris and making plans to relocate the chickens to another farm.
Pippin said officials with Wayne Farms, the company he grows for, were bringing excavators to lift the roofs so workers could catch the chickens.
(The chickens were six and a half weeks old and would have been ready for harvest in another 10 days or so.)
Cattle fences completely gone
Pippin, who also raises beef cattle, sustained heavy damage to pasture fences.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen with the cows right now,” he said. “All of our fences are completely destroyed on one side, and a lot of it is down on the back side. We are feeding the cows hay near the middle of the pasture so hopefully they will stay in until we can get some fences up.”
A few miles away, Patsy and Troy Husband, who’ve been poultry growers for 12 years, were busy patching their seven chicken houses, which received varying degrees of damage and are also insured by Alfa.
“One of the larger, newer (poultry) houses has almost the entire roof gone,” Patsy said. “We’re catching the chickens out of that house and relocating them to another farm. The other houses, I think we can patch up for now and permanently repair them once this batch of chickens is finished.”
Patsy said it was about 4:15 a.m. when the storm woke her up. A few minutes later, Mother Nature cranked things up a few notches, and the wind really began to blow.
“It was a really loud noise that sounded like a train,” Patsy said. “The tin is everywhere — in the yard, in pastures, in the trees. It’s strewn for miles. I thought ‘Oh my God, what are we going to do now.’”
But despite the loss, and working outside in a bitter cold wind today, Patsy was smiling and cheerful.
“You’ve got to take the good with the bad,” she said. “I could sit down and cry, but what good is that going to do.”