About 100,000 chickens died in a fire over the weekend at a Connecticut farm that is one of the top five egg producers in the country.
Officials from the state Department of Agriculture confirmed Monday that an estimated 100,000 hens were killed in a fire at the Hillandale Farms property in Bozrah, Conn., on Saturday, The Associated Press reported. The report said that dozens of firefighters responded to the fire, which was contained to just one of the farm’s buildings.
According to local CBS affiliate WFSB, firefighters from 21 different departments responded to the fire and were on the scene for eight hours. The report also said the state’s agriculture agency does not expect the fire to impact egg prices, which have been rising over the past year.
No employees were injured in the fire, but the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, according to a statement posted on the Hillandale Farms website. The website confirmed that one chicken house was lost in the fire.
“Our team continues to work closely with the local fire departments and state officials to thoroughly investigate the fire that occurred on Saturday, January 28. We can confirm that one chicken house was lost and that no other buildings were compromised. We are deeply grateful that no employees were hurt in the fire,” the farm’s executive leadership team said in the statement.
“Although it remains under investigation, we are working with local and state authorities to determine the cause. We appreciate the tremendous response from local fire departments for their swift action and for the continued support from across our industry,” the statement continues.
Hillandale Farms, which has properties across the United States, raises more than 20 million chickens for eggs and is one of the top five egg producers in the country, according to its website.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the rise in egg prices last week, asking the commission to look into whether the egg industry is using a record outbreak of bird flu as a cover for price gouging.
Average egg prices have more than doubled in the last year, from $1.79 in December 2021 to $4.25 in December 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This rise in prices has been attributed to a nationwide avian flu outbreak, supply chain challenges and the rising cost of chicken feed. The bird flu alone affected 10 percent of laying hens, further driving up prices.