Months after greater than half of Claire Fry’s flock of three,000 chickens was swept away in excessive moist climate and riverine floods, her egg and hen enterprise in northern Victoria is rebounding as chicks hatch and demand from clients will increase.
- Claire Fry misplaced 1,500 chickens throughout devastating floods in northern Victoria final 12 months
- Months on from the catastrophe, breeding applications have recommenced
- Ms Fry says demand for eggs and hens is on the rise
Fluff and Feathers was considered one of a number of companies within the small farming district of Benjeroop, east of Swan Hill, that was inundated when extra the 120 millimetres of rain fell on the area in a four-hour interval in October.
Flooding within the surrounding waterways, together with the Murray and Loddon rivers and the Barr and Pyramid creeks, left the neighborhood remoted for a number of weeks and some properties solely accessible by boat.
Unable to relocate her 3,000 birds, Ms Fry constructed a makeshift moat and levee that protected her home, however a breach on the rear of the property resulted in half of her rooster coops being flooded.
“We misplaced 1,500 birds within the first three days of the flood,” she mentioned.
“A few of them drowned, others acquired washed away, as a result of as soon as their feathers get moist they get heavy they usually simply cannot get out of the water.
“Afterwards, for about 4 or 5 weeks, we had been shedding birds day by day from the mosquitoes they usually had been getting chest infections from the water, in order that they had been all on antibiotics.”
Greater than 15,600 livestock perished in Victoria on account of the floods, together with chickens, sheep and cows, in line with the state’s agriculture division.
The Gannawarra Shire Council, which takes in Benjeroop, estimates the price of flood repairs all through the municipality will attain $50 million.
The clean-up is ongoing at Fluff and Feathers, however Ms Fry has restarted breeding applications and her flock of birds, which additionally contains geese, geese, turkeys and guineafowl, is rising.
To date this 12 months, greater than 700 chicks have hatched on the property and there are 500 eggs within the incubator.
Ms Fry additionally has about 300 egg-laying hens and is rearing quite a few sought-after breeds to promote, together with Sussex, Leghorn and Wyandotte chickens.
“We’re buying fertile eggs from everywhere in the nation so we get a mixture of good high quality birds,” she mentioned.
“Hopefully when the brand new season begins round August/September we should always have some stunning chickens for individuals to return and purchase.”
Ms Fry mentioned she had already observed extra individuals wanting to buy egg-laying hens amid nation-wide shortages, and a latest open day on the property attracted greater than 300 guests.
Roadside eggs gross sales have additionally skyrocketed in latest months.
“Final 12 months we’d in all probability promote 10 dozen eggs every week,” Ms Fry mentioned.
“Whereas now I am leaving out 4 dozen a day and they’re passed by lunchtime.
“We promote them at $4, however we even have a barter system as a result of not everybody can afford even $4, so anyone who wish to barter one thing can accomplish that.
“Individuals are asking for chickens — they need chickens for eggs, as a result of they can not get them they usually cannot get chickens wherever.
“We’ve individuals coming each weekend wanting layers.”
Ms Fry mentioned her hens had been additionally wanted for companionship.
“They’re all little characters and they’re addictive,” she mentioned.
“All they need is one thing to eat they usually’ll provide you with an egg. They’re stunning creatures.”