Rethinking the Intelligence of Chickens
For anyone who doesn’t think chickens or other birds are intelligent or emotional, I present to you, Carol… the chicken who is ruining my life.
Carol came to us from the Seattle Animal Shelter after being found as a stray. Sometimes when she gets on my last nerve I tell her I can kind of understand how she ended up in a shelter, but then I apologize. Carol is just… being Carol.
She screeches at dawn to be let out of her pen, so I bought her a new fancy coop I could put in the aviary with an automatic door so she could let HERSELF out into the safe aviary and not be at risk of danger from hawks or raccoons in the early morning.
This wasn’t enough for Carol. She did not think the 850sq foot aviary was big enough for her early morning routine. So she’d let herself out of the fancy new coop and then screech at the aviary door at dawn.
I have neighbors. Nice neighbors that I like very much. So for the past year or so I have been up at dawn every day. Thankfully in Seattle this is very late in the winter, so I don’t have to worry about it. But from May to October I am up at 6am or earlier… every day, without fail.
I get up, grab some blankets and go lay on the lawn to sleep there so Carol can forage in safety without screeching. This worked for months and months, but now Carol trusts me and has decided that we are BFFs and as her BFF I should groom her face and pet her.
So instead of getting to sleep on the lawn in the early morning, I get pecked in the head or arms until I pet Carol’s face.
Peck peck, pet pet pet. Peck peck peck, pet pet. Oh have you fallen asleep again? Peck peck… pet pet pet.
I’m pretty sure she’s the smarter one between the two of us. Clearly I am trainable though, so there’s hope for me still.