Recent studies conclude chickens may be the smartest critter in the barnyard– in some scientific trials, they even outperform the average toddler.
We aren’t poule-ing your leg. In many clinical tests on cognitive and behavioral sophistication, chickens not only outperform dogs or cats, but even four-year old human children.
What skills take the average human child until age four to begin to deduce– among them numeracy, self-control, and even basic structural engineering– chickens infer only hours after they hatch and strut out the chicken coop.
Newly-hatched chicks can count (keep track of numbers) up to five, and when given the option between groups of plastic eggs, they would consistently choose the more numerous one, even when the researchers tried to trick them by mixing up groups.
Interestingly, it would be more difficult to play ‘peek-a-boo’ with a chicken than with a baby. Experiments show that even the youngest chicks can understand that an object which moves out of sight still exists. It takes a human at least a year to begin to grasp that grandpa is still there even though he’s covering his face!
Moreover, chickens understand empathy and have the ability to plan ahead and self-control. Virtually all chickens learned that the longer they waited to eat their food, the longer it would remain accessible to them. Perhaps it is chickens who are taking up all the restaurant space at Cracker Barrel!
Yet most importantly, chickens come when called by name.
So before you consider a dog or a cat, or if you think chickens are impersonal, just remember they are probably just being modest. Underneath all those wings and that silly head, they have a depth we are only now beginning to understand.
Free-range chickens will supply you not only with the tastiest and healthiest eggs– they will be an obedient source of joy and comfort, especially for children. Order your chicken coop now!
To learn more about breeds of chickens, please check back soon!
To learn more about chicken cognitive and behavioral studies, please see Professor Christine Nicol’s page.
Chickens…they may surprise you!