The Year Round: Crisis as chicken shed roof collapsed in snow

Merry Christmas from High Wolds farm. As we look forward to the New Year, we wonder what 2011 will hold for us.

Nobody could have predicted how 2010 turned out.

First there was good news. Corn prices became realistic in 2010, which creates new enthusiasm for growing crops.

Now, if any is spilt in the yard it gets swept up. When it was 80/tonne it just got kicked about.

Then came the bad news in the form of a proposed wind farm right on our boundary.

The planning application for these 400-foot monsters is due to be submitted shortly.

And then the coldest and snowiest start to winter on record arrived.

This resulted in a chicken alarm at 3am on November 30.

When I went to investigate, I found all the doors in shed two were wide open – hence the alarm as the temperature had dropped.

I thought that we had rustlers.

Luckily, the 25,000 birds were in their darkness period.

When I turned the lights on I was horrified to see that five bays of the roof had caved in with the weight of snow.

The air pressure of the roof collapsing had blasted the doors wide apart.

At 3am, the brain can't take in such a shock, but by 8am with all hands on deck and with the help of our man Peter's curtain sides off a lorry, we managed to surround the collapsed area, heated the shed up, restored the food and water and picked up the smothered birds in the corners.

There would have been far more dead if they'd been in a light period.

The birds were too young to market at the time, but have now gone.

I just hope that the insurance company play fair after years of paying the premium for storm damage.