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Farm's cows increase milk with Shakespeare

Maidstone, England -- Workers at a British farm said cows exposed to a theater group performing renditions of a Shakespeare play increased milk production by 4 percent.

Farmers at Pleasant Farm, near Maidstone, England, said the Changeling Theater Co.'s renditions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," a comedy about recurring William Shakespeare character Falstaff attempting to seduce two women, caused the cows to increase their milk yield by 4 percent, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

"Anything that calms the animals and reduces their stress is good and Shakespeare ticks all the right boxes," farm worker Liam Batt said. "Perhaps there is something in the language of Shakespeare -- we don't know, but it seems to work and milk production has gone up 4 percent."

Rob Forknall, artistic director for the Changeling Theater Co., said the "bizarre experiment" was born of wondering whether Shakespeare would have a relaxing effect on cows similar to that of classical music.

"We were all slightly surprised when it did," Forknall said. "Since then we've done several rehearsals with the cows. It saves us having to book rehearsal space and the farmer's very pleased to get more milk."

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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