Southold Town Police are investigating the theft of about 60 chickens from a Southold poultry farm early Sunday.
The Rhode Island Red pullets, which are chickens less than a year old, were taken from Feisty Acres Farm on Youngs Avenue between 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday, according to farm owner Abra Morawiec, who filed a police report.
There were tire marks leading away from the scene and only 32 of the original 96 birds remain, Morawiec said.
"I hope that whoever took them really needs them and really take care of them," Morawiec, 34, said in an interview. "I hope they live a good life. Our chickens were raised outside and treated very well. So I hope they don't end up in a dirt lot somewhere."
She said the theft of the chickens, which are five and a half months old — about the age they would have started laying eggs — cost her roughly $2,100. But Morawiec, who has operated the farm with her partner, Chris Pinto, since 2015, said the poultry could have generated thousands more in the eggs they would have laid.
Morawiec said she does not have surveillance cameras on her wide-open property but is planning to purchase them after the theft.
Since the pandemic began, Morawiec said there have been a number of unusual incidents, including people abandoning their roosters on her farm.
The loss of the birds, which she purchased in January, means the farm, which raises quail and other specialty poultry, will only harvest about 30 eggs per day rather than an expected 80 to 90, making it harder to fulfill orders on the North Fork and in New York City, she said.
Morawiec pointed to economic hardship suffered during the COVID-19 outbreak as one possible cause of the burglary.
“I understand that people are getting desperate and I’m sure there are other farmers around and in the country who’ve experienced people stealing livestock and crops and poultry from them during the pandemic,” Morawiec said in a Facebook post.
Anyone with information on the birds’ disappearance can call Southold Town Police at 631-765-2600.
With Randee Daddona