Farmer who talks to the animals

A Sussex farmer has spoken of the benefits of talking and playing music to his animals to keep them calm during the recent wet weather.

Harry Hewlett, of Dawes Farm, in Bognor Road, Warnham, is a farmer with a knack for keeping his livestock calm and collected.

He says his animals appreciate him speaking to them and playing the radio for them.

“When we are handling the animals we talk to them. I’m not saying they know what we say, well, you would have to ask them that really,” he joked.

“It’s just about reassuring we are going in and we are going to handle them. It would be exactly the same in a hospital. We have got to go in and be calm and quiet.

“They get very restless in the bad weather. Hereford cattle are a docile breed and they can adapt to all climates but one thing they don’t like is getting cold and wet.”

This discovery comes after a survey published by RSPCA Freedom Food this week revealed that 80 per cent of farmers in the south and south-east either play music, radio, sing or chat to their animals with nearly half claiming it makes their animals more content.

“We play the radio to the animals when they are housed over the winter,” said Harry.

The farmer’s daughter, Aimee, agrees with the benefits of the radio for their sheep. She said: “The buzz of the radio helps create a calm environment which can only be a good thing for the mums-to-be, and we find that the new lambs like it too.

RSPCA farm animal scientist Marc Cooper endorses this technique.

He said: “Chatting to farm animals may sound daft but there is a clear welfare message behind Freedom Food’s survey.

“Like our pets, farm animals are intelligent, sentient beings and respond well to positive interaction.”

For more on Freedom Food visit www.freedomfood.co.uk/farmanimalweek