Chickens are not stupid at all

If someone tells you that you are as smart as a chicken, thank that person for giving you such a compliment, because chickens are proven to be highly intelligent animals.

Chickens are surprisingly clever and understand a lot about what’s happening in the world around them. Thanks to their cognitive and emotional abilities, they can be measured well against young children, primates or ravens. This was found in a study published by the American animal welfare organization ‘Farm Sanctuary’.

For some reason, people like to eat intelligent animals the most. While commercials lie about happy chickens peeking through endless meadows, most poultry eaten by humans comes from industrial farming. One of those billions of industrial-grown chickens talks about their life in the vegan kid’s book ‘The Turtle Who Fights For Animal Rights’. In her sad testimony, the chicken says she has never seen the sun or spread her wings, and that she and her friends only serve as egg and nugget vending machines.

Even if they were not intelligent, it would be cruel to eat them and torture them, but these facts should not leave even the greatest fan of nuggets and omelets indifferent. Although chickens have a walnut-sized brain, they use it in many ways.


Chickens are good at math

Chickens are not only little sweet yellow models posing for Easter cards, but they are also good mathematicians from birth. While math is a difficult subject for many schoolchildren and their parents, scientists have shown that chickens are good at addition and geometry. These adorable creatures are able to distinguish small from larger quantities. This is indicated by tests with yellow plastic eggs. As soon as they hatch, chickens can count up to five, and when offered two groups of plastic eggs, they almost without exception choose the group that contains the larger number of eggs. They will do the same when scientists try to trick them by moving eggs from one group to another.

They are good at physics

Chickens are also born with a certain degree of understanding of physics. This is evidenced by an experiment in which birds have shown much more interest in sketches of structures that can be built than those that defy the laws of physics.

And while it takes almost a year for babies to understand the difference between the possible and the impossible, chickens understand it immediately.

They are also able to memorize up to three minutes of the trajectory of a single ball. This corresponds to the abilities of most primates in experiments similarly conducted.

So, dear parents, instead of paying for math and physics lessons for your kids, take them somewhere they can watch smart chickens. Unfortunately, unlike children who get rewarded for good grades in school, intelligent farm chickens end up in pate or as crumbed bites for dinner instead.

Apart from their multitasking nut-sized brain, an important part of the body of a chicken is their beak, which is extremely sensitive to taste, smell and touch. Injury to this organ causes great pain to these animals. In factory farming, chickens are debeaked to not cause injury to other chickens in their cramped confines.

Chickens have self-control

Unlike many people who have trouble controlling the words they utter, chickens can keep their beaks shut when it is in their best interest. This would mean that hens have an adequate amount of self-control. Studies have shown that this animal is able to keep its beak closed if it results in receiving better food at a later time. They quickly realized that the longer they wait before they start eating, the longer they will have access to that food. So here’s another hen lesson for humans, especially for children who have a problem with delaying their desires and how they want everything right here and now.

Although the loudest in the house is the rooster, hens are also very chatty. Communication between chickens is also very complex. Chicken communication consists of a large repertoire of at least 24 distinct vocalizations, as well as different visual displays. So true is the proverb: never quarrel with a hen!


Chickens have empathy

Chickens are very empathetic beings. Scientists have observed that hens show fear and concern in certain situations. When hens see a gust of wind blow away the fluff of their chicks, they develop similar symptoms of stress like their frightened offspring. Judging by this, hens also have the capacity for empathy. They are able to experience the feelings of members of their own species. This is known only in a small number of species, such as ravens and primates. In a hen’s kingdom, there is a hierarchy so every hen knows ‘who is who’ in society.

This, of course, applies only to chickens that live in a natural environment in which they can interact. Unfortunately, chickens in industrial farms are unable to move and are treated like nothing more than a commodity.

Perhaps one should not overstate praising the hen, despite all these skills. It is unlikely that any hen would win the Nobel Prize, but at the very least, they deserve much better treatment and more respect.