Music soothes funky chicken

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The Independent Online
FUNKY CHICKEN seems to be right. Chickens who listen to pop music are calmer, healthier birds and lay more eggs, the National Farmers' Union has found in a survey.

After years of anecdotal evidence, the NFU joined forces this summer with Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, the animal behaviour specialists who cloned Dolly the sheep, to test the theory that chickens thrive in a musical environment.

They found that of the 100-plus chicken farmers they surveyed, half played their flocks music, and 96 per cent of those who did said it made the birds calmer. Twenty per cent said they suffered less illness, and 16 per cent said it made them lay more eggs. Ninety per cent of the music- less farmers said they would consider the idea.

Popular radio stations were the usual way of getting the sound to the hen house, especially local radio, and the survey found that the birds have decided preferences: chart music and easy listening are in, while jazz and heavy metal are out. Some farmers played their birds classical music but this was not the soothing balm that might have been expected.