Skip to main content

1st MN farm hit with bird flu resumes production; others still dealing with 'nightmare'

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The first Minnesota farm plagued by the avian flu is restocked and resuming production, the Associated Press reports.

The Pope County turkey farm was hit three months ago, but was restocked with birds Sunday. It's the first poultry farm in the region to be back in action, the AP says.

The death toll in Minnesota due to avian flu is more than 8.8 million birds, across 108 farms in 23 different counties, according to the Department of Public Safety's latest figures.

And while the financial and mental loss is difficult for all farmers, it's been a series of miscommunications and frustrations for one Minnesota firm.

A 'nightmare'

The Redwood Falls Gazette spoke with Becky Bruns, one of the operators of The Pullet Connection in Renville County, which raises thousands of chicks for poultry companies. On June 1 she discovered some birds in one clock were dead and infected.

That meant all 420,000 chicks had to be killed, the paper says.

What followed was frustration.

Bruns told state lawmakers Monday nobody had ever confirmed to her operation that the birds had the avian flu when 200 USDA workers showed up to kill all the birds, the West Central Tribune reports.

Some of the birds were supposed to be euthanized in a day and a half – but it took more than three days, and the birds didn't get feed to eat during that time, the Tribune says.

And a case manager who was supposed to oversee the process showed up, wouldn't go near the barns, then didn't return, Bruns said, according to the paper.

It'll be weeks before they can use those barns again, which must be cleaned on the owners' dime and sit empty for a certain period.

It's been a "nightmare," Bruns told the Gazette.

The euthanasia process

MPR detailed the steps taken to kill the birds on a wide scale.

On turkey farms, a foamy carbon dioxide mixture is pumped into the barn, and kills the birds within a few hours. Chickens, because they sit high up in cages, have to be manually moved into the walkways, which then are filled with carbon dioxide. About 300,000-400,000 birds a day can be killed that way, MPR reports.

The bird carcasses are then left in the barn to decompose, with a bedding layered on top that builds heat – and in the process, kills the virus particles, according to MPR.

Check out the full story for many more details about the process.

Egg prices still suffering

On the consumer end, the avian flu is still impacting egg prices at the grocery store.

Nationwide, more than 46 million birds have been hit with the virus – and nearly 20 million egg-laying hens have been killed.

The average price for a carton of a dozen shelled eggs has nearly doubled in the past month, Yahoo reports, citing numbers from the USDA.

It could eventually affect packaged foods that use egg products, too – breakfast sandwiches, breads, pastas and other items, Yahoo says.

It's gotten to the point where the U.S. is now allowing egg products to be imported from the Netherlands, the first time in more than 10 years the United States has bought eggs from a European country, the Associated Press reports.

In Minnesota, Coborn's Inc. spokeswoman Rebecca Kurowski told the St. Cloud Times the company is good through July – but is unsure of its egg supply after that. In addition, the Central Bakery bakers are experimenting with egg substitutes in recipes to alleviate the issue.

Steve Olson – a higher-up with the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota and Minnesota Turkey Growers Association – thinks the price increase is only temporary, he told the St. Cloud Times, calling it a "slight disruption" to the industry.

Next Up

Gov. Tim Walz and Scott Jensen.

Walz, Jensen clash over 'extreme' abortion views

The two clashed over the topic on Tuesday, following the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 12.24.27 PM

Movie filming brings memorable day for MN teen with leukemia

Ayotzin Limon-Millard was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last year.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 1.25.30 PM

Police trying to ID 'Playboy bandit' and 'no-pants raider' suspect

Police are calling the unidentified man "the Playboy bandit" and the "no-pants raider."

storm, severe, shelf cloud

Twin Cities under severe thunderstorm watch Tuesday afternoon

Large hail and damaging winds are the main threats.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 9.27.30 AM

Famous Dave's family brings new BBQ biz to the south metro

The newest Twin Cities location is the first to offer wine slushies on the menu.

storm, shelf cloud, severe weather

Large hail possible with strong storms in eastern MN, WI

Watch the forecast update with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

Tony Evers, Wisconsin governor

WI governor vows to protect anyone charged with abortion crimes

“You think it’s bad now? The four Republicans that are going after me, one of them we’re going to beat, they are going to make it worse," Evers said.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, June 28

The state will stop providing daily updates and move to weekly editions beginning Thursday, June 30.


Sports anchor Hobie Artigue announces FOX9 departure

Artigue has spent the past seven years covering Minnesota sports.

hennepin county medical center

Boy, 7, dies after being pulled from pool in south Minneapolis

The boy was pulled from a pool at a home in south Minneapolis.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 8.32.18 AM

Nashville man leaving wedding shot in the face in Minneapolis

He was leaving a wedding when gunfire erupted near the Stone Arch Bridge Saturday night.


Abogados Café in St. Paul is the first law-themed coffee shop in America

The new business is Minnesota's first Latina-owned coffee shop.