Enjoy the sounds of nature

The Agri-food and Veterinary Authority has killed 24 free-roaming chickens in Sin Ming after receiving complaints about the birds being noisy ("Give and take needed over animals: Minister"; Feb 3).

Research has found that chickens have the potential to generate a noise level of 70 decibels, when measured very close to the chicken (at a distance of about 60cm). However, they rarely reach this level.

The noise level also decreases as we move farther from the chickens.

Comparatively, a quiet conversation between people at home creates 50 decibels of noise.

Are we killing the chickens over this level of "noise"?

No silent chickens exist. The noise chickens generate should be regarded as the sweet sound of nature.

Hens are generally quiet, except when announcing the arrival of a freshly laid egg. These sounds occur only once every 24 to 36 hours, last only a few minutes and never occur at night.

Only roosters crow loudly.

When I was on assignment in the Philippines for six months, I would hear roosters crow one or two hours before dawn every morning.

I was cheered to be able to again enjoy the sound of these "natural alarm clocks" that I had heard in my childhood.

Today, mynahs squawking outside my window wake me every morning. Though it is not a pleasant sound, it is nature, and I welcome it.

Singaporeans should ask themselves: Instead of the sound of nature, would we rather listen to power tools, the pounding of mortars and pestles, motorcycles and car alarms?

Michael Loh Toon Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2017, with the headline 'Enjoy the sounds of nature'. Print Edition | Subscribe