Newton supervisors bury dead chickens

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
April 20, 2001
Newton County officials say burying dead farm animals for health reasons is a fairly common practice in rural counties. Beat 4 Supervisor L.M. "Bubba" Bonds recently buried 12,000-16,000 chickens on Robert Jones' farm on Newton Conehatta Road.
Supervisors discussed the issue at a Thursday meeting.
Bonds said supervisors can't go out and bury animals at a farmer's request. The recommendation comes from the state veterinarian when there is threat of disease.
When chickens die, the poultry grower contacts the contract company, whose officials in turn contact state animal control officials. They send a veterinarian out to inspect. In cases where a large number of chickens die, the company may go directly to the state veterinarian, who recommends burial to supervisors.
Some producers have their own backhoes and don't have to rely on county labor and equipment to dispose of animals, he said.
Chancery Clerk George Hayes, who serves as clerk for the board of supervisors, said a cow, a calf and a horse were also recently buried.
He said supervisors may be required to bury cows or horses when lightning hits a herd, for example.
When a single cow or horse dies, a local veterinarian usually determines whether they need to be buried based on whether the animal was sick before it died. Lime is then poured over the grave, Bonds said.
Hayes said Newton County farmers lost thousands of chickens in last year's drought.
Bonds said the largest number of chickens he has buried at once was about 30,000. Two or three years ago on a hot, humid Sunday afternoon, a producer's power went out and he didn't have a start-up generator.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at