Honestly, to answer my own question – anyone who has raised chickens for more than a year knows how smart they are. BUT apparently, someone decided to do an actual scientific study of them, and has concluded that yes, chickens are smarted than ‘most people’ give them credit for.
Think chicken: Think intelligent, caring and complex
Review looks at studies on chicken intelligence, social development and emotions
- Date: January 3, 2017
- Source: Springer
- Summary: Chickens are not as clueless or ‘bird-brained’ as people believe them to be. They have distinct personalities and can outmaneuver one another. They know their place in the pecking order, and can reason by deduction, which is an ability that humans develop by the age of seven. Chicken intelligence is therefore unnecessarily underestimated and overshadowed by other avian groups.
Link to article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170103091955.htm
Read it. It’s interesting. It touches on a chicken’s ability to think, reason, count, learn, their complex communication system and the thing I’ve been speculating about since Abby and Claire had their babies this summer – maternal instincts and methods.
I have personally seen – and commented here in the past – Double Dots counting his flock and sounding his alarm when one was missing. I’ve seen him monitor the door at bedtime to make sure the flock entered the coop in the right order, and heaven forbid someone mess with his accepted order of admission! I’ve seen Maicey sneaking into the barn to explore places she hasn’t seen and find different hiding places for her eggs. And personally chronicled how different my three broody hens were with their chicks.
I will say, though, that a part of me feels like this ‘study’ would have been unnecessary if people today weren’t as so far removed from the natural world. A hundred years ago, people(sometimes even in cities) raised chickens, turkeys and other poultry as a part of life. They saw first hand, every day, what those birds were capable of. Today? Most people look at most every animal with an attitude of “you’re just a dumb animal.” Maybe the only consideration is for common house pets, like dogs and cats, because we see them every day.