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by World Poultry Jun 20, 2013
Newly-hatched chickens are capable of skills that it can take human babies
months or even years to master, new research has revealed.
The research, undertaken by the University of Bristol, found that chickens
had an instinctive physical awareness from hatching. They can keep track of
objects that fall out of sight - a skill human babies do not pick up until about
12 months of age - and have an innate preference to objects "that they know make
They can also exercise greater self-control - a classic test of intelligence -
choosing to turn down one reward if there is the prospect of receiving a better
one. Chickens are also born with the ability to keep track of numbers up to
five, unlike humans, who have to be taught to count, the report says.
Christine Nicol, professor of animal welfare at the University of Bristol,
co-authored the review with Robbie L'Anson-Price.
Nicol said it was important for people to recognise there was more to poultry
than meets the eye, as well as "the importance of providing these amazing
creatures with the environment that enables them to live out their natural
instincts. Despite their familiarity, few people think of domesticated chickens
as intelligent birds".
A spokesman for the Happy Egg Co, who sponsered the study said the findings of
the report, entitled The Intelligent Hen Study, would inform range and
enrichments' design on its farms.