Hi I am Zell of Zell's Farm we are a small farm in Hillsborough, NJ. Last night on September 1st, we lost all of our chickens, broilers, half of the ducks, and all the infrastructure to a torrential flood resulting from Tropical Storm Ida. In total we lost 2 Egg Mobiles, and 8 chicken tractors, waterers and feeders, and of course the chickens. We had 350 hens, about half hybrid egg layers, and the other half a hodge-podge of heritage breeds. We had 350 or so broilers of various types and about 250 ducks(about half ducks came back on the second day). The chickens represent about 1/2 of our monthly income between eggs and meat sales.
Our pastured poultry operation was in a lower pasture when the flash flooding began. We were able to rescue our good dog Tucker, who is a maremma shepherd, when the flooding was up to his shoulders. Sadly by the time it was apparent how much the water was rising, it was too late to do anything, and we had to just ride it out. Our sources tell us this was higher water than ever before in living or distant memory for the family who has lived on our lane for almost a century. The waters were so high the wagons floated up and tilted to one side, and then sometime before 10pm the wagons were gone, we didn't see them float away. Our hens and broilers were lost. Our ducks were lost. All was lost.
In the light of the next morning, the wagons and chicken tractors were gone, having dashed themselves on trees or fences, remarkably the fence remained for the most part. Throughout the day we found a few more clusters of ducks along the lane, and some further downstream, while we could not catch all the ones we found, we did manage to collect about 100 of the 250 ducks we had, pekins and muscovy for meat and several other breeds for eggs.
We have calculated that the repairs and replacements will cost $30,000 over the next 4 months in cleanup and removals, labor, materials and poultry, if I hire in help on construction we can speed up the project and be back on track by the end of the year, with eggs coming in early winter. This money will be spent on materials, labor and livestock, by Zell's Farm for the purpose of reconstruction of the Egg Mobiles, chicken tractors, feeders, waterers, and chicks.
Our eggs and meats will be available on the farm, from our markets which we attend: the Trenton Farmer's Market, the Montgomery Farmers Market, the Highland Park farmers market, and the Hopewell Farmers Market, as well as by order online.
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