by Joseph Schany

Palo Alto County regulators approved the construction of cage-free chickens for Daybreak Foods, Inc. during the regular Tuesday morning meeting.

According to Aletha King, Palo Alto County Zoning, the conditional use permit includes the construction of three new cage-free hen house buildings and a new dry manure storage facility at Daybreak Foods’ existing site near Graettinger, where it has been since 1996.

The site, on which around 1.7 million birds were previously housed in eight buildings, has been demolished in recent months to make way for new structures.

“When you go up there, the buildings are gone” said king. “They crushed all the cement into a huge pile.”

The newly proposed cage-free interventions give chickens space to walk, spread their wings, and lay their eggs in nests. This is an important natural behavior that caged chickens are denied. The new structures are estimated to total around 2.1 million birds, with the manure stored separately in a building to the west.

“The old buildings had one floor with birds and one floor with dung underneath.” said Brett Pickar, general manager at Daybreak Foods. “[The new buildings] I have three floors of birds and no crap below because everything is removed every day and goes to the crap building. “

Read the full article in The Democrat.