Are Chickens Intelligent Animals?

Recent research shows that chickens are some of Earth’s most intelligent and emotional creatures. Chickens can demonstrate thinking skills like primates and mammals.

If you hide something from your chicken, for instance, your bird will know where that thing is- which is something even most young kids can’t do.

How Smart are Chickens?

Although chickens are a primary diet for most people, very few people rarely interact with these birds. There is a general misconception that these birds are dumb. However, if you observe them, you will most likely notice that your birds are more intelligent than you thought.

If you raise chickens, you will discover that they are smarter than most people think. Here are a couple of things that show how intelligent chickens can be.

– Delayed Gratification

If you didn’t know, chickens could demonstrate some level of self-control. In some studies that involve chickens, there is evidence that chickens can refuse to eat food if they know they will get food later.

– Memory

Humans can recognize countless people throughout their lifetime. On the other hand, studies show that chickens can recognize different chickens. Even if you have thousands of chickens in your flock, the birds will still recognize each other.

Studies further show that these birds can recognize different humans. Chickens can recognize their owners and also identify strangers.

– Object Permanence

This is a pretty exciting concept. For example, if you show somebody an object and immediately hide it from that person, they will probably not find it. Surprisingly, chickens can discover hidden things.

– Personality

If you have been spending time with your pets, such as dogs or cats, you know how these pets have strong personalities. They can form friendships and develop a wide range of interests.

The same goes with chickens because these birds have great personalities and can bond with each other perfectly well. They will also indulge in activities with each other.

– Manipulative

Chickens can be pretty manipulative, showing how intelligent these birds are, despite us underestimating their intelligence. These birds can be cunning, showing their manipulative side whenever they want to get something.

– Empathetic

Some chickens, particularly roosters, can demonstrate the ability to protect hens and chicks from potential threats. That shows chickens are pretty empathetic, thanks to their intelligence.

– Counting

A study from Padova University shows that chickens can easily recognize differences in value. After placing three objects behind a huge screen and two objects behind another screen, researchers noticed that chickens rushed to the screen with the most objects.

Hen mothers can also count their chicks, and they will be restless if they miss one of their chicks. That shows chickens can recognize numerical values.

– Language

Chickens possess 24 different types of vocalizations. They use these vocalizations for different scenarios. For example, chickens have vocalizations for predators. They also use vocalizations to communicate simple things like ‘it’s mealtime.’

Are Chickens More Intelligent Than Dogs?

Yes, chickens are more intelligent than dogs. Some scientific studies show that these birds are more intelligent than human toddlers. In multiple cognitive-behavioral tests, chickens have been outperforming dogs and cats.

Can You Teach Chickens Tricks?

Yes, it’s possible to teach your chickens new tricks of your choice. After all, these birds are pretty intelligent, and therefore they can learn many tricks. Chicken owners need to train their birds to make it easier for the owners to manage their flocks.

For example, you can teach your birds how to perch or come whenever you call them. You can train your chickens virtually any trick you want your bird to learn and master with good treats and patience. Here are ideas to help you teach your chickens some crucial tricks.

– Choose a Trick

Chickens can learn so many tricks, provided you teach them accordingly. Since there are several tricks you can teach your birds, decide what to teach your birds. You can, for example, choose to teach the birds how to perch to ensure none of the chickens in the flock sleeps on the floor or in nesting boxes.

Even if you would like to teach your birds many tricks, avoid teaching them all the tricks at once since you will confuse your birds. Stick with one trick and train the birds until you are sure the birds can stick to that trick.

– Motivate Chickens with Treats

Chickens love treats like humans. Treats will be crucial in reinforcing the skill you strive to teach your chickens. Give your birds a treat each time they get something right when training them.

However, ensure the treats you will be using for training your chickens are different from their regular food. For instance, you can try using treats such as bird seeds, fruits, vegetables, and mealworms.

– Use Creative Sounds

Bridges are the sounds you will be using while training your birds. Any sound will make a great bridge if you make the sound persistently to ensure the chickens master the sound and that the sound doesn’t confuse your birds.

Use the sound after your birds get something right. Moreover, use the sound before giving your birds treats while training them. Your birds will soon start associating the sound with a specific action.

For instance, you can whistle the word awesome until the birds master that bridge. Ensure your bridge sounds the same throughout. If you don’t have a good bridge in mind, you can try using a training clicker as a bridge for your chickens.

– Be Persistent with Training

While chickens are intelligent birds, you will still need to consistently reinforce these birds’ good behavior to make the training work for your birds.

Train your chickens something new at least once daily. The more consistently you are with training your birds, the faster the chickens will learn and master the new tricks you are teaching them.

Do Chickens Have Memories?

Yes, chickens have memory, which explains why these birds are pretty intelligent. Scientific studies show that chickens have a good memory. These birds can remember positive and negative events. Furthermore, chickens can remember places, people, and other animals.

However, the duration of chickens’ memory is hard to determine scientifically. Everyone who spends time with chickens can attest that these birds are excellent at remembering things, especially if that thing evokes memories of negative experiences.

Chickens can also remember an activity, especially if that activity involves food. Furthermore, they will never forget a place if they face a threat while at that place.

Do Chickens Dream?

Yes, chickens can dream like all mammals and birds. These birds have REM phases of sleep, and therefore they are capable of dreaming. While it is hard to know what your chicken is dreaming about, it is likely your bird could be dreaming about the things it goes through in its daily life.

The emotions that chickens experience in their daily lives go to their brain’s subconscious part. These emotions reflect in a chicken’s dream when the bird is roosting.

Are Roosters Smarter Than Hens?

No, roosters aren’t more intelligent than hens despite their masculinity. Hens are smarter than roosters since they can perform things that show they are smarter than cockerels.

For instance, hens know when to incubate, and they can also tell whether eggs are fertile or not. The way hens look after their baby chicks show that hens are pretty smart.

Do Chickens Have Feelings?

Yes, chickens have emotions like mammals and other birds. These birds demonstrate complex positive and negative emotions. For instance, chickens have feelings of happiness, anger, and empathy.

They also have feelings of fear. No wonder these birds roost up high at night because they feel they are vulnerable.


Chickens are perhaps the most intelligent domestic birds. Scientific evidence confirms that these birds are more intelligent than we think. Whether free-range or indoor chickens, chickens will consistently demonstrate a sense of intelligence.

If you want to keep some intelligent birds, consider keeping chickens since the intelligence of these birds will amuse you.


avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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