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50,000 chickens found dead or starving at Central Valley farm

February 23, 2012 |  7:17 am

The operator of an abandoned Central Valley chicken farm is facing potential animal neglect charges after authorities found about 50,000 hens dead or starving on the property.

The farm was rented by A&L Poultry and raised laying hens on property near Turlock, south of Modesto, the Modesto Bee reported.

Authorities say the hens had not been fed in more than two weeks.

About one-third of the hens died of starvation, Annette Patton of the Stanislaus Animal Services agency told the Bee. The others will be euthanized because they were in such poor health.

Officials had not said how the carcasses would be disposed of, though dead hens and other farm animals usually go to rendering plants, where they are made into ingredients for various products, the Bee reported.

Owner Andy Keung Cheung declined to comment when the newspaper reached him by telephone.

Animal service officials investigated after a citizen complained about the business, Patton said, adding the owner is potentially facing animal neglect charges.

Initial testing did not indicate that the birds were diseased, a veterinarian for the animal service agency.

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-- Dalina Castellanos

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