Poultry production in a war zone
Kateryna Kuharchuk, Poultry World
Sep 21, 2022
“On 24 February, we woke up to a war, and soon thereafter, Russian tanks rolled through the front gate of the poultry farm. With roadblocks between feed plant and farm, egg production became next to impossible,” tells Oleksandr Strilets, owner of the Ptahoprodukt group of companies in an exclusive interview with Poultry World.
The Sumy region is located in the eastern part of Ukraine. It borders Russia in the north and was immediately occupied by the Russian military on 24 February, with heavy fighting for individual cities. The territory was liberated from the occupiers on 4 April.
During the occupation, the Russian army killed more than 100 people, and several dozen more went missing. In addition to human casualties, the business also suffered losses. Companies were shelled, looted, office and production equipment was taken away.
One of the companies that fell under the Russian occupation was one of the poultry farms of the Ptahoprodukt group of companies. The firm includes 2 poultry farms (6 and 10 hectares) and a compound feed plant. The poultry farm in the village of Vilshana came under attack and was eventually occupied. Owner Oleksandr Strilets comments on the unheard-of situation: ‘’You try to run the business as best as you can, but no managerial decision will work against a tank.”
Strilets comments: “Our biggest challenge was the Russian military’s direct attack on the farm. More than 100 vehicles with military equipment entered the factory’s territory – it was a shock for everyone. The Russian forces invaded after the end of the working day. The gate was demolished with a tank, and their equipment was placed everywhere. The occupiers camped there for the night. The factory’s guard was locked in a room, and his phone was taken away.”
At that time, the farm housed 30,000 day-old chicks as well as producing layers. Russian soldiers occupying the poultry farm vandalised the cage equipment, tampered with feeding and ventilation systems, and slept on bags of compound feed. Moreover, the chickens were thrown out of the cages, and the temperature in the chick houses dropped below critical, substantially increasing mortality.
Hard decisions ...