updated 6/4/2007 9:43:20 PM ET 2007-06-05T01:43:20

Three German teenagers were spared paying hefty damages after a court said an ostrich farmer had failed to prove his claim that the youths' noisy firecrackers made one of his birds impotent.

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The court in the eastern town of Bautzen on Monday ordered the three teenagers to pay only $188 in vet costs for the ostrich, Gustav.

Farmer Rico Gabel had claimed $6,730 in damages for the alleged antics on Dec. 27-29, 2005, of the three youths, aged 17-18. They were not identified by name.

The farmer claimed that fireworks set off by the boys made the previously lustful Gustav apathetic and depressed, and thus unable to perform for half a year with his two breeding partners.

Before Gustav regained his sex drive, the farmer estimated he lost out on 14 ostrich offspring, worth $470 each.

The state court started hearing Gabel's suit in March and brought in an ostrich expert to examine his claim.

The expert, Christoph Kistner, told the court he saw no connection between the noise and the lack of offspring. He said that while the noise could cause stress, it was not proven it would affect the production of sperm in ostriches.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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