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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 December, 2003, 10:10 GMT
Chill-out CD to calm turkeys
turkeys - generic
Turkeys have had a mixed response to the CD
Yorkshire turkeys have been shaking their tail feathers to the sounds of Gregorian chanting and wind chimes in the run up to Christmas.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) sent relaxation CDs to turkey farmers across the county to test the common belief that playing the birds music keeps them calm.

An NFU spokesman said: "British farmers care about their animals so now we want to put this theory to the test and get a definitive answer, which will help turkey producers in future years.

"Our turkey top 10 includes many naturally calming sounds that we hope will have a positive effect on the turkeys' behaviour."

Jackie Riby has been farming turkeys for the first time this year in Fraisthorpe, near Bridlington, and said the CD had generated a mixed response.
Turkeys' top 10
1 - Gregorian chanting
2 - Happy turkeys
3 - Farmyard sound
4 - Trotting horses
5 - Sounds of the forest
6 - Sounds of the seaside
7 - Wind on the moors
8 - Dawn chorus
9 - Wind chimes
10 - Whale sounds

"Some of the louder tracks prompted quite a lot of gobbling, but they didn't seem to bother much about the quieter ones.

"I've found that turkeys are generally quite inquisitive anyway and do tend to react to different things, but I think my turkeys are fairly happy without the CD."

In Thornhill, Dewsbury, farmer Tim Lindley found his turkeys preferred listening to the radio.

"They weren't happy about any of the tracks really apart from the 'Wind on the Moors'.

"I think it's quite unusual compared to what most farmers have found, but they normally have the radio on anyway so maybe they just prefer that."

The experiment, which was carried out after consultation with animal behaviour experts, has been criticised as "sick, cynical and beyond belief" by vegetarian campaign group Viva!.

Viva! campaigner Alistair Currie dismissed the notion that a CD could improve turkeys' quality of life.

"The idea that sound effects and chill-out music might make the slightest dent in the suffering of these poor birds is absurd," he said.

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