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Chickens are stupid??

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by CluckyCharms, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. I'm confused. Everywhere I look on the internet, people say chickens are stupid. There have been countless so-called "studies" of chickens that have concluded they are unintelligent creatures. There's been only one research study (that holds any weight) that I can find that says they're not. Other than that...stupid, stupid, and more stupid. Well...I think people who say chickens are stupid need to re-evaluate what constitutes "stupid".

    Definition for the word stupid:

    a : slow of mind

    b : given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner

    [Edit to add] Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    If chickens really are stupid, then that would mean the following:

    A rooster is unintelligent and slow because it warns the entire flock of impending or imminent danger.
    A broody hen is careless and unintelligent because she knows precisely when her eggs need to be turned or moved, or when something isn't "quite right" with an egg.
    A chicken is stupid because it knows to nestle with coopmates for warmth.
    A chicken is completely unintelligent and careless because they know NOT to voluntarily eat toxic plants and insects.

    All of those actions require the use of the brain. NONE of those actions are from the "involuntary nervous system (breathing, digestion, heartbeats, blood flowing, etc). Meaning - chickens need to have the brainpower (intelligence) to react in such a manner to given scenarios.

    Yeh...chickens are stupid...makes perfect sense. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
    1 person likes this.

  2. Darkwings

    Darkwings In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2012
    Atascadero, CA
    I've never thought that chickens were "smart", but I did manage to crate train a Buckeye rooster. Every night he would go put himself in his crate in the garage. Pretty impressive since all his hens slept in a coop at the other end of the yard. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Well, stupid is sort of a relative term. Yes, chickens have evolved to be good at being chickens but all of the behaviors you described are instinctual behaviors not learned ones.

    Sometimes they do things that impress me and they even do a few things I sometimes think people could learn from. But, mine also stand in the rain all day and get caught in the same bush over and over again. And even though she has lived in the same coop for almost two years sometimes my leghorn can't find the door. They have a hard time dealing with change because they are very limited in their ability to learn. They can adapt to new provided routines and can be taught simple tricks.

    Are they stupid? Maybe it's not the right word, but they are limited. Compared to the things that dolphins and pigs and monkeys can do - the way that they can learn and adapt - it's really no comparison.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    2 people like this.
  4. Old English GB

    Old English GB In the Brooder

    Oct 4, 2012
    The Coop
    My birds don't free-range but everytime 1 accidently slips out an open gate I never really have to go look for it. If it takes off further than the other side of the run all I have to do is wait until it starts to get dark & my "stupid" birds brings itself right back to the coop wanting in for the night. My kids have even left my tractor door standing wide open all night long & all birds were present & accounted for the next morning, no herding involved. They just sat there & looked at me when I looked in to count them before shutting the door as if to say "We're here Mom, we're being good." Another time, my daughter left the main coop gate open for over 24 hours while I was out of town & my landlord called me to tell me my birds were out. All that weren't in the coop were perched on top waiting for me to open the door wider so they could go back in. I chased them down & in they went, all but the 1 I missed in the dark who hopped off the wrong side of the coop. She was waiting by the gate come morning when I went out with the feed bucket wanting back in for her breakfast. Yea, chickens are "stupid." They never get to leave "home" & can still find it when need be.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  5. Well I guess everyone is entitled to their opinions, and I do not believe they are stupid at all. Some chickens have been potty trained to go in a specific spot that the *owner* (not the chicken) chooses. Others have been trained by color or shape selection with building blocks. Still others are trained to go through obstacle courses and only hit certain items of a certain color. Those aren't innate skills...those are learned.
  6. hillbillyfarmer

    hillbillyfarmer In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2010
    I wouldn't call my chickens stupid but they are not Einsteins either. However they do have the ability to learn and adapt to their surroundings. Example: I have a rooster that is blind from fighting with another rooster he is one of my favorites so I gave him a chance to see if he could find his food and water on his own. Took 2 days to train him and now he is a pro at it. I have even tried moving it around and he still finds it. Two years later and he is doing just fine. He joins in and crows with the other roosters. Knows the difference when I carry a rooster or a hen in his pen with me even if they don't make any sounds. So stupid they are not.
  7. Old English GB

    Old English GB In the Brooder

    Oct 4, 2012
    The Coop
    I have the smartest "Stupid" chickens around. [​IMG]

  8. Princess Amri

    Princess Amri Is Mostly Harmless

    Jul 16, 2009
    best coast
    My birds still don't entirely understand the idea of going around fences instead of trying to go through them even if the mesh is too small to fit their heads through. They aren't stupid, but they aren't great at problem solving either. :p
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    THere IS some thing about chickens that are endearing. My turkeys are more laid back but love to visit. My chickens see me leave the house with anything looking like a bucket and swarm around me, cluing in the turkeys.

    Intelligence--many different ways to define this term. I see various levels of problem solving from all my different barnyard animals, specially if food is involved. [​IMG]
  10. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Crowing

    Oct 24, 2009
    Check out this link
    My chickens seem quite smart. They are Japanese bantams. The recognise ME and my dog, but if a stranger or a different dog comes in to the garden they are quick to all run off.

    They also know when I have mealworms for them because the recognise the box with them in.

    They all know how to get home if the fly off into the woods when something scares them.

    My chickens with young chicks and the roosters sleep under some bamboo baskets and they all know which one they belong in in the evening are will be sitting of the top of the correct one!

    The also have their chick 'language' and have many different calls and sounds for different situations, like when one finds a big insect, or a warning as a hawk flies over head - then they all freeze and watch it, or run under the bushes.

    Yes chickens have adapted very well to being chickens, but we have adapted very well to being humans. Perhaps the chickens would think we are stupid as we cant hatch out eggs, or tell the difference between what plants or bugs are safe to eat or not.

    People always look at intelligence in human terms. A chicken in not interested or evolved to use a computer or make tools - it does not need to.

    I also see a nice side to them. I have one blind chicken and the others all look after her. They never attack her and let her by pass the pecking order totally. If she gets left behind she will call to the others, who will all stop and wait for her to catch up. The boss rooster is very close to the blind hen, and will lead her around. The hen following his large tail feathers as a guide, pecking at them.

    I do think that most of what the chickens know is learned when they are growing up, and once they are adults it seems difficult for them to learn new things. That is why, if they never had been free ranging, they might not understand how to get back into the run, or about they can't get through a solid fence.

    "Can you hook us up with the internet and lend us a lap top - we are getting bored here!!! - oh and we want a newspaper so we can do the crossword puzzle".
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    1 person likes this.

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