An East Sussex farm has received almost £80,000 from the Ministry of Defence after hundreds of chickens died when terrified by low-flying military aircraft.
The birds were said to have been spooked by the loud noise of a Chinook helicopter overhead, causing them to trample each other to death.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has reportedly given £79,041 in compensation to the farm.
A spokesperson from the British Egg Information Service (BEIS) explained that low-flying aircraft can cause the birds to ‘smother’ in a panic reaction – which is when they pile on top of each other against an obstacle like a wall.
Sadly the animals at the bottom of the heap suffocate. The spokesperson said, “In flocks of free range hens, which usually number in their thousands, many hundreds of birds can be lost in this way.
“The other possible effect on hens from the stress of the shock is that they go out of egg production for a period and the eggs the hens do produce are often poor-shelled and not fit for the table market.
“The farmers losses amount to the value of the birds which die, the consequential loss arising from the flock being smaller than it otherwise would have been and the reduced egg value from the remaining hens due to both lower egg numbers and higher levels of second quality eggs.”
This comes as the MOD has paid out around £2m following similar incidents across the country.
An MOD spokesperson said, “Low flying is an essential part of operational military training, the MOD understands that it can be noisy and unpopular but strives to ensure that any disturbance is kept to an absolute minimum and spread as evenly as possible throughout the UK.
“The MOD will pay fair and reasonable compensation when the essential link between the presence of low flying military aircraft and an incident has been established.”