Storm damage – help needed

A storm hit our place on Tuesday. Most of our neighbors reported a little hail and some wind, but something completely different happened at our place.

The storm mangled three of our chicken coops and threw them hundreds of feet. Several of the other coops were knocked aside and broken on the inside, their walls bowed in and their two-by-four supports splintered.

I never thought I would say this, but we are a little bit grateful for the bird flu. If our vet had not been advising us to keep our chickens inside as long as possible, all of those coops would have been full of chickens. As it was though, all the young chickens were in the safety of a larger barn, which was not damaged. As a result, no people were out caring for the chickens in those damaged coops when the storm hit either. Because of this, no animals or people were injured.

My family walked around the farm that evening in shock, piecing together what happened. Some of the mangled coops in the field look impressive in their destruction, but the most telling image is more subtle. If you stand where some of the chicken coops used to be, and look south, you see a swath about 20 feet wide by 80 feet long that is completely bare. Chicken coops that had been standing in this swath were thrown hundreds of feet, colliding with other coops and damaging them. One flying coop took down a section of fence as it left our property, but another apparently vaulted over the fence and left a dent in the ground as it came crashing down.

Other equipment, which was sitting near this swath of bare earth was also airborne. A heavy 300-gallon water tank, with a metal frame, went way up and ripped the roof of one of our coops before landing on the other side of that coop. A large plastic chicken feeder that usually sits in the field, and is about 5 feet high, flew over one section of fence and then came crashing down on another part of the fence, which it smashed to the ground.

We have wondered if it was a tornado, but have been advised that straight-line winds called “micro bursts” can do the same kind of damage. We now suspect that it was this type of wind because we do not see evidence of twisting and because everything flew in basically the same general direction instead of being scattered in all directions by the swirling winds that are typical of a tornado.

Recovering from this is going to take a long time and a lot of help, and we also have an immediate need. We need to get the crushed coops out of the neighbor’s field soon so he can work the land, and we need to make a place for our chickens to move to the field. They can not stay in the big barn indefinitely. Our efforts have been complicated by the fact that our basement also flooded.

We are scheduling volunteer days this weekend and hope to schedule more. If you are able to come out, especially if you have any experience with using tools like drills and hammers, please send a message or an email me at auntieanniesfields (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Thank you!

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