Research at Jerusalem's Hebrew University shows chickens exposed from birth to classical music get plumper faster than "culturally deprived" birds.

A university statement says experiments by Dr. Gadi Gvaryahu show that chicks played soft, soothing music and given visual stimulants gain weight 2 percent more effectively than those raised by conventional methods."In commercial chicken-raising the chicks are hatched in an incubator without having any contact with their biological mothers and are then thrown into an impoverished environment lacking any stimuli," the statement quoted Gvaryahu as saying.

"As a result the chickens are apprehensive and tend to dart about a lot and hurt each other, all detracting from their maximal weight gain," he said.

In Gvaryahu's system the new-born chicks are given balls, key chains, windmills and cloth mittens and exposed to classical music.

"The music has to be played at low volume, not more than 75 decibels. The chickens prefer calming music, without dramatic crescendos. Turkeys thus treated weighed in at 4 percent better than culturally deprived turkeys," he said.