Television and video images may help soothe the ruffled feathers of battery hens and reduce their risk of accidental death, New Scientist magazine said Wednesday.
Researchers at Scotland's Roslin Institute, where Dolly the sheep was cloned, showed hens and chicks video images for 10 minutes each day to see if it would calm their aggression.In a just few days they were hooked.
"As soon as the TV appears, they whiz across and spend time there," Roslin researcher Bryan Jones told the magazine. Images of fish and flying toasters had so far had the most calming effect.
The research is part of a government-funded program to find ways of reducing animal aggression and anxiety, which can carry great commercial costs.