Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chickens are Capable of Feeling Empathy

I don't think this will come as news to anyone who has a small flock of chickens.  You really know your chickens and their personalities so well and can quickly identify when their personality is off or has changed.  And you can usually identify the cause of this change.

I've noticed lots of little changes in my girls this past week as they finish maturing and get ready to lay eggs.

Ginger's face and comb has turned from a pale pink to a bright red.  It looks like she's really embarassed about something.  I guess I can't keep calling her the baby.  This is all totally normal and if you look at photos of full grown Buff Orpingtons, they have bright red faces and combs.

Coco's voice has softened.  She not as loud as she used to be and makes softer, clucking sounds than her loud SQWAAAAK!  Which is a very welcome change and I hope is permenant.  She's typically loudest in the morning when I bring treats and is quieter during the day.  But living as close to neighbors as I do, quieter is better.

And Pumpkin is starting to mellow.  She's still a spaz but not as spazy.  She's quieter.  Comes right up to eat out of my hands and has even jumped up on me several times.  I tried to pick her up a few times over the past week and she's still not ready for that kind of a relationship with me.  But there's hope.

And finally, is a link to an interesting article where researchers have studied chickens and determined that chickens do indeed feel empathy.  I could have saved them lots of research time and told them that!

1 comment:

  1. My chickens showed my empathy when I fell in the yard last year. Since I was hurting I decided to just lay there a few minutes. After 3-4 minutes I had 6 birds standing on me, 2 sitting on my leg, and 20+ staring at me trying to figure out why I was laying on THEIR ground and what I was hiding from them.