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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Radio hens in egg-laying frenzy
Malcolm Laycock
The chickens love listening to DJs such as Malcolm Laycock
A chicken farmer has claimed that playing BBC Radio 2 to his flock has resulted in a "staggering" increase in egg production.

Bill Rhodes, of Wakes Colne, near Colchester, Essex, said his 5,500 free-range chickens had laid more than 5,000 eggs a day for 30 weeks in a row.

He said the egg-laying frenzy could be down to the radio station.

"They listen to the radio for 15 hours a day, which I think helps," the 54-year-old farmer said.

"They can get quite upset by the noise of a helicopter or low flying planes overhead, so the music helps to block that out.

It's Raining Hen - The Feather Girls
I Should Be So Clucky - Kylie Minogue
Layla - Eric Clapton
Hen Will I Be Famous - Bros
Poultry In Motion - Johnny Tillotson
The Chicken Song - Spitting Image
Egg-specially For You - Kylie and Jason
Roll Over Beethov-hen - Chuck Berry
With A Little Help From My Hens - Joe Cocker-el

"If a bird is unstressed then you get a better quality egg."

Mr Rhodes, who set up Freechooks Farm 10 years ago, said: "It is a little bit of a mystery. They are laying far more eggs than I would expect.

"Other people play music to their flocks, but whether or not they play Radio 2 I don't know.

"But it is nice and mellow and it seems to make the birds happy. As soon as they arrived we put the music on as loud as possible as we unloaded them to help them settle in."

A spokeswoman for the British Egg Information Service said: "I have heard of a number of farmers using this technique, but it seems this farmer has certainly mastered it."


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