Decades of research have transformed the meaning of “bird brain,” revealing chickens’ “finely honed sensory capacities”, their ability to think, draw inferences, apply logic and plan ahead,” according to Christine Nicol, professor of animal welfare at Bristol University.
Citing a recent study in Animal Cognition, an industry blog reports that chickens are capable of deceit – for example, when males falsely announce the arrival of food to grab the attention of females and keep other males away. Females can quickly pick up on this deception, however, and ignore males who don’t tell the truth.
Within flocks, birds form deep bonds and can remember the faces of more than 100 other birds. Chickens are protective of their families, and mothers guide and nurture their young. These birds also communicate throughout their lives with 24 different vocalizations–and they all understand their roles in the highly developed pecking order.