TURNER – Suspected sabotage at the DeCoster egg farms here turns out to be something far more innocent.

Last week, Bob Leclerc, the compliance manager for Maine Contract Farming, a DeCoster spin-off, said he had asked authorities to investigate several incidents of apparent vandalism.

Leclerc said it appeared someone had gone into one of the chicken houses along Plains Road three different times at night. He said it looked as if the vandal sabotaged the water lines that provide laying hens with fresh water. As a result, water spewed into the air all night, soaking manure in deep pits under the barn cages.

Wet manure, he said, tends to promote fly infestations. The farm has been working to alleviate the airborne pests after neighbors filed a lawsuit alleging that flies from the farm threaten their health and decrease their property values.

On Monday, however, Tony Wasmund, the office manager for Quality Egg, another of the DeCoster operations, said workers determined something less nefarious caused the water problem.

“They found a faulty water regulator on a water pump,” he said.

When chickens stopped drinking at night, the water regulator didn’t function properly and continued sending water to the lines, resulting in the watered-down manure, Wasmund said.

“We just discovered it this morning,” he said.


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