A single bolt of lightening proved deadly for 1 000 chickens on a poultry farm in Zimbabwe last week, as the country experiences severe weather for the second week in a row.
The incident took place on Tuesday November in Ntabazinduna, Matabeleland North – about 5km out of Bulawayo – and has left the owner of the farm devastated. The chickens were about to go to market and hopefully accrue returns on the large investment she made in the operation.
CHICKEN FARMER LAMENTS LOSS OF INVESTMENT
Farm owner Sidunisile Mathe told iHarare that a biblical bolt of lightning struck the chicken run and sparked “a huge ball of fire” that reduced the structure – and the chickens inside – to ashes.
“It all happened on Tuesday around 16:00, it began to rain heavily and I was with one of my helpers trying to secure the fowl run,” she said. “We then left for the main house and that is when a bolt of lightning struck the fowl run, it was like a huge ball of fire.”
“It was scary. I immediately rushed back to the fowl run screaming for help, neighbours came through as they initially thought that maybe the lightning had struck while we were inside the fowl run because we would spend most of our time in the fowl run,” she said.
Mathe said that she invested US$2 500 into the construction of the fowl run and to date had used about US$1 000 to purchase around 70 bags of chicken feed.
“What pains me is that I lost these chickens when I had already got a market for them, actually, they were now three days from reaching the required six weeks maturity, I was supposed to be delivering them on (last) Friday,” she said.
COMMUNITIES ‘HARD HIT BY VIOLENT STORMS’
Ward councillor for the area, Alexander Mkandla, said that the tragic incident was desperately unfair on Mathe, who has become respected in the community for her tireless graft.
“Most people were looking up to her, as she was very passionate about this project,” he said.
“For her sweat to be rewarded like this is very painful, to say the least.”
He said that the severe weather – which is only predicted to get worse by meteorological services department, which is warning of more storms and a heightened potential for flash flooding and lightning strikes this week – also caused another poultry farm to lose 150 chickens.
“While we really appreciate the rains, our community was hard hit by their violent nature. I was made aware of another family that lost 150 chickens but theirs was because their fowl run was destroyed by the heavy rain which resulted in the roof collapsing on the chickens, he said.