If Chicks Can Count Like Humans, Chickens Aren’t Dumb After All!

Do you think chickens are no brainier, think again? It used to be an insult when somebody calls you chicken brain, but may be not anymore. They can count like humans, and that’s when they are chicks yet. How much more when they are already fully grown chickens?

Chickens’ brain are as big as man’s thumbnail according to research. Compared to man’s brain weighing 3 pounds on the average, the counting feat is awesome considering it involved chicks not more than 3 days old. That means even smaller brains.

One research group completed a research concerning the ability of chicks to identify numbers and came out with rather stunning results.

“Our results suggest a rethinking of the relationship between numerical abilities and verbal language, providing further evidence that language and culture are not necessary for the development of a mathematical cognition,” said study lead author Rosa Rugani, a psychologist at the University of Padova in Italy.

Just like people the chicks can count from left to right. The smaller number on the left and the bigger numbers to the right. It’s not clear how man came to do it. Two theories: It’s a part of accidental history of man or it is how the brain does it.

So which is which?

Rugani and her colleagues found the answer to this out by teaching 3-day-old chicks to walk around a screen panel marked with 5 dots then letting them peck the food behind it. The five-dot panel became the focal point, teaching the chicks to associate the five dotted panel with food.

The chicks got the idea that five dots meant food. The researchers then removed the five dot panel and replaced it with two panels with 2 dots each. One was placed on the left and the other on the right. The chicks tend to gravitate to the panel on the left, which suggests that they recognized the number was smaller than 5.

When the panels were changed with number eight, the chicks tend to go the right side, which again mentally represents that 8 is higher than 5, researchers explained.

Another experiment was carried out involving the same process. They used two panels just the same but this time one with 8 dots and other 30 dots. The chicks went to the left when the panel with 8 dots is placed there and to the right when the panel with 32 dots is also placed there.

So which is the answer to question?

The findings was published in the journal Science.




  1. Carmi says

    “If Chicks Can Count Like Humans, Chickens Aren’t Dumb After All!” More likely, it’s people aren’t really that smart after all.

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