5 cool things you didn’t know about chickens

19/12/2019

Chickens are smarter and more complex than they seem

While some people might not think much of chickens’ emotional life or their cognitive abilities, research suggests chickens, like many other animals, are equipped with similar advanced cognitive skills and emotional sophistication as other non-human animals. Did you know that advanced intelligence has been found in mammals, birds and fish alike?

It is fair to say that the perception of chickens as simple is biased and one tainted by our view of them as a commodity or food source, rather than as interesting or sophisticated individual birds with personality. In a review of research into chickens’ reasoning skills, behaviours, emotions and communications, Lori Marino summarizes the findings in a paper published in the journal Animal Cognition in 2017.

Here are 5 cool facts about chickens from Marino’s research:

1. Chickens possess some understanding of numerosity and are able to do some basic arithmetic

2. Chickens communicate in complex ways

chickens, change for chickens

3. Chickens have distinct personalities (this has been also noted by anyone who spends time getting to know them!)

4. Chickens perceive time intervals and may be able to anticipate future events

5. Chickens have complex negative and positive emotions, as well as a shared psychology with humans and other ethologically complex animals. They show ‘emotional contagion’ and some evidence for empathy.

There are about 60 billion chickens killed for food each year around the globe. They have no chance to behave as they would naturally – pecking at the ground, foraging, dust-bathing and soaking up the sun. Like all sentient beings, they deserve a life worth living.

Help us make a Change for Chickens.

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