Chat to a cat or sing to a sow

SONGS from musicals have been filling my head this week.

That stirring anthem, The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music, is one of them.

Then there is Talk To The Animals from Doctor Dolittle.

What prompted this cacophony of noise in my brain was the publication of research which revealed that more than two-thirds of farmers in the East of England play music, radio, sing or chat to their animals.

The majority of them claim it makes their animals more relaxed, calm and settled. Radio 2 is the most popular station in the animal world. But some farmers don’t bother switching on the set. Instead, they prefer to sing to their animals including hymns, rugby songs and Bon Jovi tunes.

More than half of the farmers surveyed said they liked to get personal by talking to their animals. Popular topics include the weather, how they or their animals are feeling (sheep often say baaa-d, apparently) and general chit chat as if talking to a pet or another person.

One farmer said: “I chat away to my breeding sows all the time, although the piglets are often too busy to stay still long enough to listen!” Just like human youngsters.

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Of course, it’s not just animals who like to listen to something melodic. Silence is not golden in the workplace, say business owners.

In a survey, nearly eight out of 10 businesses said playing music in places of work increases staff morale and creates a better working environment and atmosphere (although I have always found it a distraction when someone has dared to switch on a radio within earshot of the newsdesk)..

A director of music licensing body PPL was quoted as saying: “We know that playing music has huge benefits and we are keen for as many business owners as possible to understand how cost effective and beneficial playing music can be.”

But then her organisation gets a rake off when music is played in work places.

One place which could do with having relaxing music playing in the background is the home, judging from new research about the battle of the sexes.

The conclusion is that we are still driving each other up the wall with our gender differences.

The thing which most annoys men about women is them saying “I’m fine” when clearly they are unhappy about something.

More than a third of women questioned said that they were driven to despair by men not listening to them properly. And they said this was made even worse when men repeated the last sentence they heard back to their female partner parrot fashion.

Men’s second most annoying habit was not putting the toilet seat down. Telling them to put a lid on it fails to stop the complaint, I have found.

The second most annoying female habit, according to men, was talking too much, especially when they were trying to watch their favourite TV show.

They may have a point – women are reckoned to say an average of 20,000 words a day while men utter just 7,000.

I say no more.