Talking To Hens (free download)


‘an introduction to the fascinating world of ‘hen speak’

There’s more to a chicken than meets the eye, and she’s certainly no bird brain. From a few basic syllables, she’s capable of at least thirty different calls, and has the largest vocabulary of any bird; with patience, she’ll understand what you are saying too?



Here are few thoughts to change your perception of chickens:

  1. Chickens possess a number of visual and spatial capacities, arguably dependent upon mental representation, such as some aspects of stage four object permanence and illusory contours, on a par with other birds and mammals.
  2. Chickens possess some understanding of numerosity and share some very basic arithmetic capacities with other animals.
  3. Chickens can demonstrate self-control and self-assessment, and these capacities may indicate self-awareness.
  4. Chickens communicate in complex ways, including through referential communication, which may depend upon some level of self-awareness and the ability to take the perspective of another animal. This capacity, if present in chickens, would be shared with other highly intelligent and social species, including primates.
  5. Chickens have the capacity to reason and make logical inferences. For example, chickens are capable of simple forms of transitive inference, a capability that humans develop at approximately the age of seven.
  6. Chickens perceive time intervals and may be able to anticipate future events.
  7. Chickens are behaviourally sophisticated, discriminating among individuals, exhibiting Machiavellian-like social interactions, and learning socially in complex ways that are similar to humans.
  8. Chickens have complex negative and positive emotions, as well as a shared psychology with humans and other ethologically complex animals. They exhibit emotional contagion and some evidence for empathy.
  9. Chickens have distinct personalities, just like all animals who are cognitively, emotionally, and behaviourally complex individuals.

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