Monday, July 23, 2012
True story: Turkeys like music. You can find this out on your own, easily. Turkeys are talkers, male and female!
Another true story, but a lot creepier is why researchers were studying musical preferences in turkeys.
The modern turkey farm is more warehouse than pastoral setting. Turkeys are crammed into large sheds, often without windows or proper ventilation. Up to 10,000 turkeys may be confined in one shed. The turkeys are de-beaked without pain-relief, and the first digits of their toes are cut off as well. If they are male, the soft fleshy bit that falls in front of their beak (called a snood) is lopped off with scissors too.
All of these mutilations are done to prevent the side effect of intense confinement - fighting and frustration.
So researchers were trying to figure out other ways to reduce stress and improve growth rate without, you know, actually giving the birds meaningful welfare improvements like more space and less mutilations.
They discovered that playing music to turkeys reduced the level of fighting and stress amongst the birds. I cannot remember if it improved growth rate.
The turkeys studied preferred Mozart, by the way.
Willow, above, likes back scratches more than music.