Ever wondered Are Chickens Smart? Here are 10 things you need to know|


Ever wondered are chickens smart? Or you, like most people, think that chickens are dumb-brained food for humans. To bust your myths, chickens are one of the most smart-brained birds and take their day-to-day challenges very seriously and perform tasks that, for chickens and us, are almost impossible to achieve. 

The thought of chickens being dumb comes mainly from several factors, from being only raised for food, not looking good or being exotic to be raised as a house pet, and behavioral instability. But according to some evidence, chickens are not only smart but also very quick learners.

From being good house pets, chickens can process, recognize and work on the information they get. And they are no less than any other bird or animal regarding intelligence. Dr. Lori Marino reported all these claims in a study she conducted in 2017 who also happens to be the founder of the Kimmel Center for Animal Advocacy. Not only an activist, but she is also an author and educator. 

This means that chickens are not good-for-food birds only; they can store and exchange information with their peers. Next time someone argues about chickens being dumb-brained birds, back your claims with the help of these 10 reasons that will answer, are chickens smart?:

Why Are Chickens Smart?

1. Chickens possess a distinct personality:

Generally, in a household, dogs and cats as a pet are people’s priorities. From being intelligent to their communication abilities, they are the most sought-after species of animals for any pet owner. With their excellent communication skills, not only their peers but can form friendships with humans and animals of other species also.

Well, shockingly, chickens are also the same. They can also express their needs and demands to their owners and sometimes form friendships. Not only are their owners in some instances, but they are also known to befriend other animals.

Gain their trust, and you will see they make the perfect pet. Since other animals or humans are mostly hunting them to feast on, they either run around or try to fight them, eventually giving the wrong idea of their temperament. They only show unusual behavior when they sense a threat.

Their behavior might be complex to us, but it helps them create a special bond with other birds from their habitat, which ultimately places a crucial role in the hierarchy.

2. Chickens possess remarkable chemistry:

Just like humans, we have seen animals taking care of other animals. By helping those in need or protecting them from any danger. Chickens are no different than any other animal, like a dog or a cat. They have compassion and a protective nature for their offspring, even those not from their pack.

The research was conducted back in 2011 by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council or BBSRC, which used certain measures to prove that not only chickens could feel empathy, but also there was a change in their behavior when something happened to their brood.

One of those methods was exposing a chick to a short puff of air. This method caused some distress to the chick. And the result was different from what the team had expected. Surprisingly, the hens showed a significant change in their behavior towards the chick. The hens had shown a rapid increase in alertness and distress in their voice, showing that the hens were concerned about the chick.

3. Chickens can show complex traits like self-control:

Talking about self-control in chickens might sound bonkers on first-time hearing, but house-trained chickens can show these qualities. You can easily see videos doing rounds on the internet about some intelligent chickens displaying self-control for rewards. They know how to act to get a better reward than the monkeys do. They may even refuse to take a smaller reward when a bigger reward is in the offing, which in a general sense, is a very complex behavior to be shown by animals, let alone a chicken. 

It might be a very fun exercise to train your chicken to show some self-control and record funny videos while you’re at it, and it may garner some views and likes on social media platforms.

4. Need to remember something? Call a chicken!

Shocked? Bewildered? Amused? Yes, you must be. But it is indeed a fact that chickens can and do possess the ability to store information in their rather small brains. It is quite unbelievable that chickens can also remember several faces simultaneously just like dogs, cats, and monkeys.

 When put through tests and experiments, chickens demonstrate memorization traits on a level that a commoner must not think that they do. They can store some images or information when needed. They can even locate an object hidden from their view, just like dogs can find their toys when hidden from them. Isn’t this amazing when you think that a chicken can do all this? 

But one must wonder where they store all of that data. The size of their brain isn’t really large.

5.  Chickens can show problem-solving skills:

Not that they can solve Rubik’s cube or a murder mystery, but chickens know how to look after themselves when it comes to surviving in a complex environment. They may look like they mind their business most of the time, but inside their brains is a supercomputer working round the clock; just kidding. They are good at minding their own business. 

They communicate with their feeders when hungry by making noises to call out for food, which is why it gets noisy at feeding time at the farms. They also are smart enough to try and survive when an attacker makes a move on them.

6. Chickens and their cunning manipulation:

Yes, they manipulate. Chickens, with their innocent looks, can manipulate humans and other animals. According to Dr. Marino, male chickens use manipulative techniques to lure female chickens. And just like humans, if a male chicken constantly calls out to the female chicken or tries to lure her, the female stops responding so that the male stops bothering her.

7. Chickens learn quite Quickly:  

To shock you even more, in some cases, chickens are comparable to a dog’s and even humans’ intellect. Chickens, in some cases, have basic learning tasks and tricks that are challenging for children. Chicken has a basic understanding of numbers up to 5 and can handle basic concepts of structures that a child around 1 to 3 years old can’t handle. 

8. Chickens can be quite curious and nosy animals:

You must have heard about an animal sensing an inevitable disaster before its occurrence. This animal instinct can also be found in chickens as well. 

They can easily detect a predator approaching them through their instinct to sense a threat. What majorly gives them the edge over their predator is that they can sense ground vibration and changes in weather and wind.

They alert not only themselves but also signal their peers about the threat and not just the threat from a predator but also the damage sudden change in weather can cause them.

9. Chickens’ ranking of Power:

Have you heard that the alpha leads a pack of wolves? And that A president of a country holds the supreme power? Chicken has this phenomenon as well. Chickens also believe in dominance, where a highly intellectual and bigger chicken will peck down on smaller and other dumb chickens of the flock to maintain its supremacy. 

Like any other animal, they also struggle to maintain their post in the flock. This requires knowledge and understanding. And not everybody stays in power forever. Chickens are also aware of the fact that a change in the hierarchy is inevitable. 

With great power comes great responsibility; the dominant chicken has to maintain its supremacy in the flock so that it can deal with the problem as a whole in case of any danger.

10. Chickens have the same brain settings a humans:

Yes, you heard it right. Although small in size, a chicken’s brain is super functional, and according to some studies, it has been found that chickens have the same wiring setup in their brain as that of a human. Due to this, it allows them to learn, remember, listen and give reactions to what Is happening around them. 


Not every chicken is smart, just like not every human is either. So if you look at them from the only view of food, you will never see how smart and reactive they can be. I hope that answers your question, Are chickens smart?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. How smart are chickens?
    Chickens are quite smart and have the same brain wiring like that of humans. Due to this, they can learn, react, remember, show affection and etc.
  2. Do chickens have feelings?
    Yes, and not just the feeling of affection for their peers or caretaker; they can also show feelings of aggression towards their threat.
  3. Do chickens communicate?
    Yes, chickens communicate with their peers. They alert their flock if they sense a threat, or they can ask for food from their caretaker by making noises and sounds.
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