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Reply #36: The Hidden Lives of Chickens [View All]

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shockra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-13-05 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #35
36. The Hidden Lives of Chickens
When I was looking for information about the PBS show "The Natural History of Chickens" that repeated again recently, I found a PETA page on them:

The Hidden Lives of Chickens

Chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals and are thought to be as intelligent as mammals like cats and dogs and even primates. When in natural surroundings, not on factory farms, they form friendships and social hierarchies, recognize one another, love their young, and enjoy a full life, dust-bathing, making nests, roosting in trees, and more.

Up until a few years ago, few scientists had spent any time learning about chickens intelligence, but people who run farmed animal sanctuaries have had plenty to say about the subtleties of the chicken world. It may seem odd, since we dont know chickens very well, but its true that some chickens like classic rock, while others like classical music; some chickens enjoy human company, while others are standoffish, shy, or even a bit aggressive. Just like dogs, cats, and humans, each chicken is an individual with a distinct personality. Now, scientists are beginning to learn a bit more about chickens, and heres what a few of them have to say:

Chickens are as smart as mammals, including some primates, according to animal behaviorist Dr. Chris Evans, who runs the animal behavior lab at Macquarie University in Australia and lectures on his work with chickens. He explains that, for example, chickens are able to understand that recently hidden objects still exist, which is actually beyond the capacity of small children. Discussing chickens various capacities, he says, "As a trick at conferences I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens, and people think I'm talking about monkeys."

Dr. Joy Mench, professor and director of the Center for Animal Welfare at the University of California at Davis explains, Chickens show sophisticated social behavior. Thats what a pecking order is all about. They can recognize more than a hundred other chickens and remember them. They have more than thirty types of vocalizations. /

The PBS chicken special had a pet chicken listening to classical music who had such a look of serenity and joy on his face. It was the sweetest thing. Unnerved me, even. I'm not used to thinking of chickens as emotionally complex.

The segment on factory farming mentioned that over 8 billion chickens are killed every year in this country.

The PETA page says:

The average American meat-eater is responsible for the abuse and deaths of approximately 2,500 chickens.

Chickens are often still fully conscious when their throats are slit or when they are dumped into tanks of scalding hot water to remove their feathers. When theyre killed, chickens are still babies, not yet 2 months old, out of a natural life span of 10 to 15 years.

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