I'm going into my third year raising chickens, and I can say, without a doubt, that these remarkable animals are more intelligent than we are typically lead to believe. I spend a lot of time with my flock and it amazed me to witness the unique personalities and mannerisms each of my birds possessed. So, it was not a surprise to me to read this study and it's conclusions.
I will not regurgitate all of the interesting information in the study, but I will sum up, in my own words, the concluding findings of the study.
- The intelligence of chickens is on par with many other birds and mammals in the animal kingdom. In other words, they are not stupid, as many people believe.
- Chickens do understand numbers and can do simple arithmetic.
- Chickens exhibit self-control and self-assessment, which are attributes of being self-aware.
- Chickens communicate in complex ways, and could be at the level of other highly intelligent and social mammals, including prime-apes.
- Chickens have the capacity to reason and make logical inferences. This level of intelligence is typically developed by humans by the age of seven years.
- Chickens perceive time intervals and may be able to anticipate future events.
- Chickens are behaviorally sophisticated, and can learn skills from each other, similar to the way humans learn from one another.
- Chickens have feelings, both positive and negative, including empathy, which is shared by humans and other complex animals.
- Chickens have distinct personalities.
There is a lot of interesting information in this study and I encourage you to read it for yourself. But, what does this all mean? Well, to me, it means that we have totally underestimated the intelligence and awareness of chickens. If you feel that it is cruel to keep dolphins and whales in captivity, to keep dogs and cats in confined kennels and raised in puppy or kitten mills, then the cruelty done to chickens that are born and raised in a "battery farm" is unfathomable to these poor, mis-understood animals.
Thankfully the Lord has opened my eyes to the wonderment of His creation, and that there's more to these animals than just what they can bring to the dinner plate.