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Science Writer and Editor

Despite what you might think, chickens are not stupid

Despite what you might think, chickens are not stupid

BBC Earth 

Image:  Hopkinsii

There is something odd about chickens. Globally they number more than 19 billion, making them one of the most abundant vertebrate species on the planet. Yet many people have little or no contact with the birds – at least, not while they are alive.

That has led to some strange assumptions about chickens. According to some studies, people can struggle even to see them as typical birds. They are, in fact, reasonably representative of the galliformes, a bird group that also includes turkeys, partridges and pheasants.

It is also common for people to view chickens as unintelligent animals that lack the complex psychological characteristics of “higher” animals like monkeys and apes. This is a view reinforced by some depictions of chickens in popular culture, and one that might help people feel better about eating eggs or chicken meat produced by intensive farming practices.

But chickens are, in fact, anything but dumb. Read more on the BBC Earth website