Mellow music puts hens in the mood for laying

Happy Egg Co. creates CD | Research shows that hens prefer to lay eggs in nests where classical music is playing

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol found that hens seem to prefer classical music when laying eggs.

The study was commissioned on a whim, says a spokesperson for the Happy Egg Co., just to see if there were any positive benefits.

“We wanted to see if it would help them feel more comfortable or produce more eggs.”

Isabelle Pettersson from the University of Bristol said the impact music has on farm animals has been noted, but not specifically about hens and their musical tastes.

“We decided to investigate this further and find out whether music has a positive impact on hens, whether they have a preference for certain types of music, and also how it affects their laying habits.”

Classical, pop and rock were selected for the nest boxes, while the fourth had no music so researchers could see the hens’ behaviour and compare the reactions.

The music was played at varying periods during the day. Researchers visited the farm weekly over an eight-week period to collect data and ensure the investigation was running smoothly.

The hens did not lay more eggs overall, but they made more frequent visits to nest boxes where classical music was playing . Results revealed six percent more eggs laid in those boxes compared to the nest boxes playing songs by One Direction.

“Hens are sensitive to noise,” said the spokesperson. “I don’t want to bash the artists, I like some of them, but classical music is just more soothing. It’s not as disruptive or loud.”

Added Pettersson: “We are keen to research in more detail about whether this finding continues to be seen over time and what exactly the hens were doing in these prolonged visits in the nest boxes playing music.”

The results prompted Happy Egg Co. to make a CD just for hens. Top of the Flocks was composed by British composer Jack Ketch and has three tracks. The CD is available on SoundCloud to download, but it will mainly be used by Happy Egg Co.

“We don’t think there are many egg producers that are doing this or are interested in using it, but we’ve put it out there for anyone who is interested in hearing it.”

Pettersson said the study wasn’t beneficial only for Happy Egg Co. or the hens.

“The study has given us a good opportunity to study deeper around the behavioural patterns of hens in the presence of music. We are interested to distinguish what it is about classical music hens like and whether this result is similar across a variety of flocks.”

To download the album, visit //bit.ly/1CPuh72

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