Bach makes for bigger eggs--young farmer's experiment wins science fair

Jonathan
Jonathan Riley
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Thian Carman’s chickens lay bigger eggs when he plays them classical music.

He knows this for a fact because of a recent experiment he carried out for a high school science fair project.

Thian, 15, Nova Scotia’s youngest registered farmer, has 67 laying hens on his farm in Barton and sells about 40 dozen eggs a week.

For his experiment he took ten chickens and put them in individual cages, and then for two weeks he fed and watered them as normal and measured the weight and size of every egg.

Then he subjected the ten chickens to country music for two weeks and measured the eggs.

Finally he played classical music to the chickens for two weeks and measured every egg.

His records show a slight increase in size and weight when the chickens listened to country music but a more significant increase when they listened to classical music.

The eggs were on average 4 to 5 grams heavier when the hens listened to classical music and they were 0.2 to 0.3 cm longer.

Thian says he found lots of studies on the Internet that show chickens lay more eggs when they listen to different varieties of music but he couldn’t find any other studies that looked at the effect on the size of the eggs.

“This is something I can use in my business now,” he said. “I’ll play classical music in my coop so I can give my customers more bang for their buck.”

Thian’s project was well-received by judges at the recent regional high school science fair in Yarmouth.

He won first-place in his division, first place overall and the agriculture award.

He’ll be competing at the provincial high school science fair in Halifax today Wednesday, May 1 and Monday, May 10 he’ll be flying up to Windsor Ontario to represent Nova Scotia at the national science fair.

Thian has a history of success at school fairs – he won his division every year he competed in heritage fairs and he won regionals four years in a row.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Barton, Yarmouth Halifax Windsor Ontario

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  • Dfost
    May 02, 2014 - 19:31

    Awesome research idea! For 15 years old and not attending university level research methods courses and stats he came up with a really cool experiment that was super applicable to his business! Smart fellow and farmer!

  • Laurie Blackwood Pike
    May 02, 2014 - 10:46

    His experiment may or may not be accurate, in its conclusion. He took the same chickens and confined them twice, first exposing them to Country and next to Classical. Two things come into play here. 1/ The chickens may have been stressed by being caged, but got used to it by the second experiment. 2/ They may by the 2nd experiment have developed a better appreciation of music. He should re-run the experiment with different members of his flock. Pen 10 each in 2 separate groups at the same time, under very similar conditions, but out of hearing of the other group. Expose one group to Country, one to Classical, and compare the results.

  • Liz Bennett
    May 01, 2014 - 16:34

    Good for you, Thian!