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Composer writes symphony for chickens
Research suggests that listening to classical music can be beneficial to livestock.

The piece has been designed to improve chicken wellbeing.

Chickens on a farm in New Zealand were treated to a performance of a special symphony on Friday, 6 October.

Musicians from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, smartly dressed as if in a concert hall, flocked together in a field to give a performance at the Bosktock Brothers farm in Hawke’s Bay.

Their feathered audience wandered around as the musicians played the new composition, Chook Symphony No. 1, which had been especially created for the chickens.

Scientific research has suggested that classical music can be beneficial for hens and other livestock, and so the Bostock Brothers decided to partner with the orchestra to try to boost the wellbeing of their free-range birds.

Composer Hamish Oliver tested different sounds and instruments to discover which ones the chickens responded to best.

Mr Oliver said: “The Bostock Brothers chickens were responsive to the viola, oboe, and bassoon, so I combined a string quartet with the squawkiest instruments of the woodwind family (oboe and bassoon) and added some inspiration from the chicken sound-world.”

The symphony combines these imitation chicken noises with a distinctly baroque sound, as if the piece were composed by Jo-hen Sebastian Bach or George Frideric Hen-del.

The composer added: “It’s not everyday that composing opportunities for a feathered audience come up and this has been a new kind of musical challenge for me, a definite career highlight – a quirky project that has a serious intent and purpose behind it too.”

A recording of the symphony has been released on Spotify and YouTube.


Image (C) Shutterstock

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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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News Shorts
Sixth case of bluetongue confirmed

A sixth case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 has been confirmed in the UK.

The case was detected in an animal on a premises linked to one of the farms within the Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) currently in place near Canterbury, Kent.

In response, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has extended the TCZ. Investigations into the spread of the disease are ongoing.

The cases in Kent come at a time when a new strain of the virus has spread rapidly across farms in the Netherlands. Both the Government and the British Veterinary Association have urged livestock keepers to remain vigilant.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and suspected cases must be reported immediately on 03000 200 301 in England or 03003 038 268 in Wales. In Scotland, possible cases should be reported to the local field services office.