Scientists Say Chickens Are Intelligent, Caring and Complex
Posted on January 5, 2017
Chickens are the world's most abundant domestic animal. There are tens of billions of them worldwide. Chickens are not known for being smart but scientists say they definitely are not the clueless "bird brains" some people think they are. Researchers says chickens have distinct personalities. They also say chickens are behaviorally, cognitively and emotionally complex individuals.
Lori Marino, senior scientist for The Someone Project, a joint venture of Farm Sanctuary and the Kimmela Center in the USA, says in a statement, "They are perceived as lacking most of the psychological characteristics we recognize in other intelligent animals and are typically thought of as possessing a low level of intelligence compared with other animals. The very idea of chicken psychology is strange to most people."
Here are some of the reasons scientists think chickens are smart birds:
- Chickens know their place in the pecking order and can reason by deduction.
- Chickens have some sense of numbers and newly hatched domestic chicks showed they can discriminate between quantities.
- Five-day-old domestic chicks presented with two sets of objects of different quantities disappearing behind two screens were able to successfully track which one hid the larger number.
- Chickens can remember the trajectory of a hidden ball for up to 180 seconds if they see the ball moving and up to one minute if the displacement of the ball is invisible to them.
- Chickens possess self-control when it comes to holding out for a better food reward.
- Chicken communication consists of a large repertoire of different visual displays and at least 24 distinct vocalizations. They use signals such as calls, displays and whistles to convey information.
- Chickens perceive time intervals and can anticipate future events.
- Chickens can deceive one another.
- Chickens watch and learn from other chickens.
Photo: Farm Sanctuary
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