7,000 baby turkeys die in fire; Thanksgiving orders affected

AP News
Posted: Jul 01, 2016 3:27 PM
7,000 baby turkeys die in fire; Thanksgiving orders affected

LANCASTER, Mass. (AP) — A barn fire at one of New England's largest turkey-breeding operations killed 7,000 baby turkeys, and the farm's owners said that means they won't be able to meet all of their Thanksgiving orders.

The fire happened Thursday at Bob's Turkey Farm, a family-run business that began in 1954, and killed baby turkeys ranging in age from 1 day to 3 weeks old, so small they could fit in someone's hand.

Farmer Jennifer Miner said she believes the Lancaster farm has a few thousand surviving turkeys and some eggs in incubators but they're unlikely to be enough to fill the farm's 8,000 Thanksgiving orders.

"It affects us emotionally," Miner told Boston.com. "It's a passion; we live for what we do. So to lose that many animals is devastating and terrible and unfortunate. It was so awful to have to watch."

In posts on the farm's Facebook page, the family responded to speculation that the barn was overcrowded, leading to the deaths of so many turkeys. They showed photos of the baby turkeys, called poults, and said around 1,000 can be contained in a small portion of the barn due to their tiny size.

No people were harmed during the fire. Authorities said the cause of the fire appeared to be accidental.