Chickens Are Smarter Than You Think (And Science Can Prove It)
Memory: Studies have shown that chickens can remember up to 100 individual chickens and can even recall specific individuals after months of being separated.3,6
Chickens can also remember human faces and have been successfully trained to act as therapy animals for sick and elderly people.
Self-Awareness: Scientists have also confirmed that chickens exhibit advanced levels of self-assessment and self-control. This is evidenced by the fact that chickens often hold out for larger amounts of food when they know they can earn greater food rewards by behaving in a particular way with humans. Such analytical behavior is associated with self-awareness and high levels of intelligence in animal species.7,8
Dreams: Researchers have also determined that chickens, like all bird species, can dream.9 They discovered that chickens, like people, experience a series of phases while sleeping, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which is associated with dreaming and heightened brain activity.
The list goes on, but the evidence is clear: chickens are smart creatures, much smarter than they’ve historically gotten credit for. We are certain that, as techniques to study animal intelligence evolve, science will no doubt confirm that chickens are even more impressive than what we’ve learned to date.
Scientists who study chickens have grappled with the question of why some people incorrectly view chickens as less intelligent than other bird species (i.e. owls, parrots, ravens). The answer seems to lie in the fact that domesticating chickens—taking them out of their natural habitat so that humans can use them—has made it easier for us to discount their intelligence, and, in turn, justify treating them however we please. We regularly observe wild bird species such as hawks and crows in their natural habitats, letting us witness their innate behaviors and complex social lives as nature intended. Because chickens have been so far removed from their natural habitats for millennia, and the context in which modern humans encounter them is usually limited to situations in which they are fully commodified, we are not able to view them as they are.
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