Gnats blamed for chickens’ deaths

U.S. & World

EYOTA, MN (KTTC/NBC News)  A Minnesota couple says gnats are to blame for the death of their chicken flock.

“We come out here and there’s chickens running all over, chasing each other,” Wayne Vehrenkamp said motioning around the empty coop. “Normally full of chickens and now there’s nothing here.”

Now, all that fills Wayne and Irene’s chicken coop is silence.

“It was part of morning and evening ritual,” Irene said.

“Every morning, every night, you feed them, check it out, and now there’s nothing here,” Wayne continued. “We love living in the country, but we have lots of things like bugs and flies and gnats and this year gnats have been extremely bad. They’ve been terrible this year.”

The tiny insects suffocated and killed all but one of their adult chickens, taking 23 birds in just three days.

“I would come out here to do chores at night and the closer I got to the chicken coop I would get swarms of gnats, clouds,” Wayne said. “It was the worst I’ve ever seen it.”

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