CORWITH - Environmental specialists with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are assisting an egg production facility in Hancock County that has experienced a collapse of cages within one of its buildings and the potential for high mortality of the chickens. The building currently houses approximately 300,000 hens.
The problem occurred when a row of cages collapsed within the six-row building at Hawkeye Pride Egg Farms near Corwith earlier this week. Since that time, the company has been trying to determine how to safely be able to start a clean-up effort because of the potential for collapse of other cages still in the building.
"This is certainly an unfortunate situation that has developed, one that I don't recall having happened in Iowa before," said Wayne Gieselman, administrator of the Environmental Services Division for the DNR.
Gieselman said the DNR agrees with Hawkeye Pride that the primary emphasis needs to be on human safety first. There are safety concerns because the row of cages that fell is leaning against the two neighboring rows. Until the cages in the building can be safely stabilized, a clean-up effort can't begin.
"We want to help the company find a solution that works for them and also make sure that everything is handled in a way that protects our natural resources. We have been very pleased that Hawkeye Pride has been working diligently to find the best solution to this unfortunate event," said Gieselman.