The ten sows at a pig farm in the southern Vietnamese province of Vinh Long start a new day as early as 4:00 am, when the radio above them is turned on, broadcasting the morning news.
The pigs relaxingly wag their tails as the sound of the news radio fills their farm, an apparent sign of their enjoying the treat.
The radio is played continually until 10:00 pm, a practice Pham Van Phuong, who raises the ten-pig herd, has followed for more than a decade.
“I learned from TV and newspapers that foreign people let their cows listen to music to produce more milk, so I thought it would work with my pigs as well,” Phuong told a morning show by national broadcaster VTV1 on December 8.
The idea flashed into his mind more than ten years ago, when his pigs were repeatedly startled by noises and miscarried.
“I think the music will keep the pigs comfortable,” he said.
With the radio playing for 18 hours a day, Phuong’s pigs will listen to anything the station broadcasts, from news to music and even cai luong, or the traditional southern opera.
“I didn’t choose any specific genre of music for them,” he said, adding “people think I’m mad.”
Strange as it may seem, Phuong has been rewarded for his method.
“The pigs have become healthier. They no longer miscarry and the shoats are always in good health,” he said.
The ten sows collectively give birth to 160 offspring a year, generating around VND1 billion (US$47,068) in revenue for the farmer. With all costs deducted, Phuong pockets some VND500 million ($23,534) in profit, according to VTV1.
His success is even a surprise to local industry insiders.
“I was at first surprised when I heard that [Phuong] plays music for his pigs,” Vo Van Vu, an official from the Vinh Long Farmer Association, told VTV1 in the same program.
“But reality proves his method is effective.”
Vu said letting the pigs listen to music has prevented them from getting startled by other noises and reduced their stress.
“This enables them to maintain good health, and so do their shoats.”
Phuong said he has plans to expand his farm. “Who knows if I won’t play 3D movies for the pigs then?” he said with a broad smile.