Could classical music impact broiler welfare?

23-02 | |
Researchers investigated the effects of classical music on broilers under different stocking densities. Photo: Canva
Researchers investigated the effects of classical music on broilers under different stocking densities. Photo: Canva

Classical music can help combat some of the negative health and welfare features associated with stocking broilers at high densities, according to recent research.

High stocking density is one of the factors that can easily cause oxidative stress and inflammatory reaction of broilers. In the past, music therapy has been proposed to help animal relieve stress, but it was unclear whether classical music can alleviate stress for broilers stocked at high density levels.

So, researchers from Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding, China, investigated the effects of classical music on growth performance, stress level, antioxidant index, immune function and meat quality of broilers under different stocking densities.

A total of 540 day-old broilers with similar body weight were randomly divided into 6 treatment groups, with 6 replicates per group, which included 2 feeding environments (with/without classical music) and 3 stocking densities (15.5, 17.9 and 20.3 birds/sqm), thereby making a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement.

The influence of music

The results showed that:

  • Increasing stocking density decreased the average daily feed intake and average daily gain .
  • Increasing stocking density increased feed-to-gain ratio and mortality of broilers.
  • Increased density resulted in an increase in serum corticosterone and adrenocorticotropic hormone levels.
  • Increasing stocking density decreased spleen and bursal indices, serum immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M levels.
  • Increasing stocking density elevated serum malondialdehyde and decreased catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities.
  • Increasing stocking density decreased serum total protein levels and increased total cholesterol and glucose levels.

Meanwhile, the advent of classical music for broilers increased their ADG and decreased F/G as well as serum corticosterone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, glucose content. In addition, the bursa of Fabricius index, serum immunoglobulin A and immunoglobulin G contents as well as the a24h value of pectoralis was increased under the music therapy.

The scientists concluded that high stocking density (20.3 birds/sqm) harmed the growth performance and health of broilers but that the classical music stimulus ameliorated the negative effects to some extent.

The research can be found here.

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Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist