Chicken Growers Should Prepare Now for Hurricane Florence

It has been several years since Delmarva has felt the full force of a hurricane, but this week, Hurricane Florence appears poised to approach the East Coast, and it is highly likely to produce troublesome winds and rain on Delmarva. The National Weather Service forecasts the potential for tropical storm force winds to affect all of Delmarva, with the Eastern Shore of Virginia facing the greatest likelihood of strong rain and wind. Chicken growers everywhere on Delmarva should be preparing now for the possibility of heavy rain and damaging winds. Here are steps chicken growers should take now to prepare for a hurricane.

  • Check the operating condition of your backup generators. Have adequate fuel and filters for several days of operations. Make sure automatic starting systems are ready to go.
  • Make sure there is adequate propane gas on the farm and arrange an earlier than normal delivery if necessary.
  • Check your feed inventory and notify the chicken company if there is reason to believe a delivery will be needed before the next normal delivery.
  • Make sure cell phones are fully charged, and have rechargeable battery packs on hand in case land-line telephone service is lost.
  • Secure outside objects on your farm -- signs, tools, boxes -- so they don't blow and cause damage.
  • Check the security of roofing materials, chicken house siding, and windows and doors to make sure they will not blow off or blow open. Corners and edges of buildings are particularly vulnerable.
  • Be sure drainage ditches are free of debris and are adequate to move large volumes of water away from the chicken houses.
  • Be prepared to keep birds longer than normal in case processing plants are unable to operate.
  • Be sure that all equipment such as tractors and skid loaders are fully fueled.
  • Put important documents into waterproof containers.
  • Have cash on hand, since some merchants without electricity might not be able to process credit and debit cards.
  • If there is no electricity whatsoever, monitor house conditions more frequently and make adjustments as needed.
  • If strong winds knock down trees, make farm lanes and houses accessible to delivery vehicles as soon as it is safe to do so.

Social media resources to help you track the storm and learn about weather advisories and warnings when they are issued include the National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) and the National Weather Service offices in Wakefield, Virginia (@NWSWakefieldVA) and Mount Holly, NJ (@NWS_MountHolly).

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