CAN CHICKENS RECOGNIZE THEIR OWNERS? A QUICK INSIGHT
Are Chickens Recognize Their Owners ?Chicken(Gallus domesticus) is a type of domestic farm bird. They are most commonly reared farm birds for meat and egg purposes. It has been scientifically documented that there are more chickens on this earth than humans and other birds. Out of other types of chicken, domesticated chicken is greater in strength.
Chicken is a kind of bird that easily creates a bond and mental link with its caregiver or keeper. When you feed them and take care of them, they start observing and liking you as time passes.
This is a very usual question by the chicken owners that whether their beloved feathery friend recognizes them or not. Here, we will discuss this surprising and ambiguous question by authentic experimented scientific logic and reasoning.
ARE CHICKENS INTELLIGENT BIRDS? A FEW ARGUMENTS
It is profoundly believed that chickens are profoundly dumb and their intelligence is always underestimated. You would be really amazed to know that chickens are considered intelligent birds. This is because of the complicated cognitive, emotional, communicative, and social behavior in domestic chickens. Just like other animals, chickens possess the following capabilities which make them intelligent and sharp.
1) Chickens have a number of visual and spatial capacities that are dependent upon mental representation.
2) According to a psychological study on chicken behavior, it was concluded that chickens possess self-awareness because they show self-control and self-assessment. They nicely evaluate which thing is best for them.
3) An experiment conducted on a five-day-old domesticated baby chick to demonstrate whether they are able to differentiate between quantities. It was surprisingly concluded that even a baby chick can discriminate between the quantities by simply applying some rules of arithmetic i-e addition and subtraction.
4) Chickens do have emotions and they show both positive and negative emotions. They share some psychological similarities with human beings and some with ethologically complex animals. Scientists proved that chicken also shows feelings of empathy to others.
5) It has also been documented that chickens have the ability to perceive time intervals and predict future events.
6) Chickens communicate in complex ways, including clues, which may depend on a certain level of consciousness and the ability to take another animal’s view. This power, if present in poultry, will share with other highly intelligent and social species, including ancient ones.
7) Chickens have the capacity to think and make sensible interests. For example, chickens are able to make simple forms of transitive inferences, a power that humans develop in about seven years.
8) Chickens have distinct personalities and other senses similar to other animals and human beings.
9) All along with other features, chickens have a magical ability to memorize the name with which you call them on a daily basis. They quickly respond to that name and can even remind the names of other mate birds.
ARE YOU CHICKENS BLIND? TRUTH OR MYTH
This is usually perceived that chickens are blind and they cannot differentiate between the colors. This has been experimentally proved that chickens have full functional eyes and eyesight. Human eyes have three cones on the other hand chicken eyes contain four cones and can also detect ultraviolet light as well.
Although they can see their owner at some distance and along with that, they have the ability to see the predator from a significant distance. If your flock is frozen and staring at someplace then it is recommended that you should observe and figure out the reason.
But it is noteworthy that chickens become partially blind at night as the sun goes down. They move slowly to their coop. But still, they have the potential to sense the fear even at night.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7HI7Iyl8KE
DO YOUR CHICKENS IDENTIFY YOU?
This seems strange to believe that chicken can recognize you, but many chicken keepers want to know this. In fact, you will be surprised to know that your feathery friend has the ability to identify you. They show great love and affection towards their owner. The behavior of the owner impacts the emotional responses of chickens. A happy owner will have a happy chicken rather than a sad and disappointed one.
According to a research publication, chickens have sophisticated behavior, they have the power to discriminate between individuals and develop social interactions. This capability of being social is quite similar to human beings.
It is said that chickens can recognize up to 100 human faces. They are able to recognize individuals of the same species by utilizing their olfactory, visual, and other sharp senses and the same mechanisms they use to identify their owner.
Adding more to this, chickens have the potential to memorize the specific event or memory associated with a human and they recall that memory when coming in contact with the same human, afterward. So, they respond to these memory-based events anytime.
For instance, if a boy cuddles with his chicken on a regular basis, then the chicken will recognize him anytime in the future when he will repeat it again and would willingly love to participate in this.
If you look after a chicken or a flock of chickens on a daily basis, then due to your constant exposure they will be able to identify you because of their complex cognitive skills.
They have a social fondness for the one who raised them. An experiment was set up to check the power of chickens to recognize their keeper. This study was designed on a flock of chickens. A volunteer was allowed to feed the flock for almost 30 days. Due to the repeated exposure of the volunteer person, chickens became excited and ran happily to him. This behavior of chicken added strength to support this idea that they possess the power to identify their owners.
It has also been noticed that chickens have the ability to distinguish and prioritized their owners more than anyone else. This thing favors the fact that they can identify the caregivers.
After valid scientific discussions and reasoning, it has been observed that chickens are smart creatures and your chicken has the cognitive skills to recognize your face. They even remember the face of that person who badly treats them. They have many wonderful capabilities just like highly developed animal species. It is recommended to develop a great social bond with your chicken and always allows it to see your face when you feed them. It is necessary to take care of the emotional patterns of your chicken and show them support and affection to a greater extent.
Bradshaw RH (1992) Conspecific discrimination and social preference in the laying hen. Appl Anim Behav Sci 33:69–75.
Dere E, Kart-Teke E, Huston JP, De Souza Silva MA (2006) The case for episodic memory in animals. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 30:1206–1224
Edgar, J. L., Lowe, J. C., Paul, E. S., & Nicol, C. J. (2011). Avian maternal response to chick distress. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278(1721), 3129-3134.
Garnham, L., & Lovlie, H. (2018). Sophisticated fowl: The complex behavior and cognitive skills of chickens and red junglefowl. Behavioral Sciences, 8(1), 13.
Author: Dr John Abbas
DVM M. Phil ( Animal production & welfare)