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VIENNA – Record heat in Austria claimed its first victims over the weekend: some 5,000 young chickens at a farm which were crushed or suffocated as they tried to escape an overheated barn.
Temperatures rose in the barn in eastern Styria state, as the mercury outside hovered around 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), prompting the birds to flock to the exits for fresh air.
In the panic, some 5,000 were crushed or suffocated, said the local fire department, which later disposed of the bodies.
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The barn had a ventilation and alarm system but stood in the sun, which is what probably caused the heat to build up inside, the farm’s owner told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
The farm near Feldbach in southeastern Austria keeps some 30,000 chickens, divided into several barns.
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Austria saw record temperatures over the weekend with the mercury rising up to 37.7 degrees on Saturday: a first for the month of June since records began some 250 years ago, the national meteorological institute ZAMG said.
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