The Intelligence of Chickens: Hen Pretends to be Dead to Avoid Suito

The Intelligence of Chickens: Hen Pretends to be Dead to Avoid Suitor

Many people falsely believe that chickens are stupid animals when in fact they are highly intelligent, especially when it comes to social behavior and communication.

Generally speaking, chickens are complex social animals that recognize individuals and establish opinions on them. Chickens are known to be able to recognize animals outside their own species as well. For example, they can (and do) remember humans and are able to tell them apart.  As with all social animals, chickens also establish relationships. Some chickens can become the strongest of friends, while others may dislike or resent each other.

It is also interesting to note that chickens live in a dynamic hierarchy. This hierarchy is mainly used to determine the "pecking order". The pecking order states who will eat first, who will eat second and so forth. Each chicken knows the order, and if anyone tries to cut in line, the chicken ahead will need to re-claim her position or accept a lower spot in the pecking order.

This video is an amazing example of the intelligence of chickens, as it shows one chicken playing dead to keep a rooster away. This behavior could be because roosters can get violent with hens while mating. It is possible that the chicken in the video had a bad experience with this rooster, or that she simply was not impressed by him. Since they are both most likely trapped in a closed area, this chicken had to use her brains, instead of her feet, to get away from the rooster.

Interestingly, females are not the only ones to use tricks to get their way. Some roosters were spotted by scientists faking an excited call meaning they've found something extremely tasty, only to trick a hen into getting closer. Since chickens recognize each other and have an excellent memory, the devious (and often young) roosters were quickly labelled as liars that couldn't be trusted, which only made it harder for them to attract hens. Did we mention that chickens were complex social animals?

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