Farmer says ‘ear-splitting’ wedding music caused 63 chickens to have heart attacks

Farmer says ‘ear-splitting’ wedding music caused 63 chickens to have heart attacks
Birds are suspected to have died of a heart attack due to loud noise

A poultry farmer in the eastern Indian state of Odisha has blamed a traditional wedding procession for the death of 63 chickens in his farm.

Ranjit Kumar Parida claimed that the procession — with loud music, a marching brass band and fireworks — was blasting “ear-splitting noise” as it passed his farm on 21 November, shortly before midnight. In his formal complaint to the police, Mr Parida said that his chickens died of a suspected heart attack because of the loud music played by the DJ.

“I requested the DJ to lower the volume as the music was too loud and was terrifying the chickens, but the groom’s friends shouted at me and instructed the DJ to increase the volume,” his police complaint read, according to The Times of India.

He said that the wedding procession deliberately stopped in front of his poultry farm for about 15 minutes and played loud music. As the music got louder, his chickens started behaving oddly, with some jumping and even hissing, he said.

Once the wedding party left the area, he went back inside the farm and saw that many of the birds were unconscious. He tried to revive them but failed.

A local veterinarian told him the next morning that the birds died of a heart attack, the farmer said in his complaint.

At first, Mr Parida sought compensation from the bride’s family, who are his neighbours. But when they refused, he filed a police complaint. “There were around 2,000 chickens on my farm. Each of the 63 chickens would be weighing around 3kg. I suffered a loss of around Rs 25,000 (£250),” Mr Parida said. The 22-year-old engineering graduate started his broiler farm in 2019 after being unable to find a job.

Veterinary experts said loud noises increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in birds.

“Chickens are governed by a circadian rhythm that is controlled by the natural light/dark cycle of day and night,” zoology professor Suryakanta Mishra told the Hindustan Times. “As such, chickens mostly rest and are inactive at night, especially when it is dark. Sudden excitement or stress due to loud DJ music can disrupt their biological clock leading to death.”

Police superintendent Sudhanshu Mishra said the charges were being verified, even though both the parties had settled the matter amicably at the police station.

The farm owner’s neighbour Ramachandra Parida ridiculed the allegations. “When [hundreds of thousands] of chickens are transported on the road on daily basis amid blaring horns, how is it possible that the birds in his farm died due to DJ music? However, after he came to me and complained about the loud noise, we lowered the volume,” he told India Today.