“[R]esearch from the University of Bristol has proven scientifically what we have known from experience — that chickens may well be the smartest animals in the barnyard. In some scientific tests, they outperform human toddlers.
That’s right: In multiple tests of cognitive and behavioral sophistication, chickens outperform not just dogs and cats but four-year-old human children.” — Bruce Friedrich, NY Daily News
In Friedrich’s opinion piece, he describes the findings – from studies of over 20 years – presented in a paper titled, “The Intelligent Hen.” Chickens have “finely-honed sensory capacities, their ability to think, draw inferences, apply logic and plan ahead,” says the paper’s author, University of Bristol’s Dr. Christine Nicol. This scientific evidence proves that the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional capacities of chickens are impressive, and are far greater than many people believe them to be.
When I was working at a bed & breakfast / farm in Hawaii the summer I turned 20, I interacted daily with the hens and roosters. I found that they had their own personalities and quirks, and they loved working alongside me, eating the bugs as I pulled weeds or raked. One rooster in particular named Elvis took a liking to me, and would follow me around, and even wait outside my living quarters. I knew then that these wonderful animals were more complex than I had previously thought, and I loved the little friendships we had that summer.
Like Bruce asks: Should we really be eating them?