English milk cows prefer Beethoven and Simon & Garfunkel
By Robert A. Wascher, M.D., F.A.C.S.
The journal Science recently reported that psychologists at the University of Leicester have studied the effects of different music styles on milk cows. The Holstein cows were divided into three groups during the daily 5 AM to 5 PM study periods: Fast music (120 beats per minute) every day, slow music (100 beats per minute) every day, and no music at all. Cows listening to Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony or Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" produced 3% more milk than cows not listening to any music. However, cows subjected to Bananarama's version of "Venus" produced slightly less milk than the cows not listening to music!
Reportedly, the authors of this study plan to measure stress hormone levels in cows as they listen to various styles of music, in an attempt to correlate reduced milk output with chronic stress induced by edgy tunes. They also have plans to study the effects of music on chickens, with the hypothesis that egg-laying will be enhanced by having the chickens listen to soothing music.