Hurricane Florence: Over 3 Million Chickens and Turkeys, 5,500 Hogs Drown in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence
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The numbers could rise, according to experts.

Millions of poultry and more than 5,000 hogs have drowned in the North Carolina floodwaters that came about as Hurricane Florence slammed into the East Coast last week. 

About 3.4 million chickens and turkeys and 5,500 hogs were killed after water inundated farms in the flood zones.  

At least 1.7 million chickens perished at 60 independent farms in the state, according to Sanderson Farms. The company says that the number of dead fowl may rise. 

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture issued the mortality totals of livestock as the Department of Environmental Quality says that a dam in Duplin County was breached and many of the state’s 16 rivers were at major flood stages.  

While the totals of the livestock killed in the storm are high, the North Carolina Pork Council, an industry group, says the totals could have been far worse. 

"Our farmers took extraordinary measures in advance of this storm, including moving thousands of animals out of harm's way as the hurricane approached," the council said in a statement. "We believe deeply in our commitment to provide care for our animals amid these incredibly challenging circumstances."

Some farms in the Lumberton area have been isolated by floodwaters, making efforts to feed the animals extremely difficult, according to reports. Therefore, there are fears that due to the lack of food getting to the animals, they too can perish. 

North Carolina is a major producer of poultry, ranking fourth in the country for broiler chicken production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Broiler chickens are birds raised for meat production.