Chickens are known to be able to perceive time and remember their past experiences. Chickens have incredible memory with abilities to memorize certain events or places.
It’s a popular misconception that chickens aren’t intelligent and hence, don’t have a good memory. However, like other bird breeds, they have vibrant personalities and are believed to be intelligent breeds of birds.
In this article, we will take a look at everything there is to know about a chick’s memory which includes what they can remember, what type of memory they use and what motivates these events/experiences.
According to research, chickens have a good sense of visual cognition and tend to remember past adverse events better or any memory associated with food.
However, how long back the chicken can remember or the actual length of their memory is yet to be ascertained.
So what are the things that they can remember?
Chickens are good at remembering things like:
- The faces of their owners or individuals they see regularly
- They can also recognize the voices of these people
- They know where the food usually comes from
- They can also grasp a good understanding of how to give them food
- If they have experienced any painful stimuli, they can remember it quite well
- In case the chicken has gone through emotions or negative experiences of trauma, its memory does not forget it
Do Chickens Have Long Or Short-Term Memory?
Chickens are good at conditioning their brains to associate adverse events with avoidance. So even if the negative stimuli happened weeks or months ago, the repercussions of that negative event would linger for a long time.
They will avoid the negative instance as much as possible because they can still remember the pain or trauma. Hence, chickens have outstanding long-term memory capacities.
Likewise, they have also shown many instances where their short-term memory functions well- for example, doing clinical trials on chickens where they have to search for food and toys after hiding them. These tests have shown that some chickens are also good at utilizing short-term memory.
What Are The Primary Motivators For A Chickens’ Memory?
There are many motivators for a chicken’s memory. Some of the common ones are:
Typically, chickens have a great memory when it comes to food. They know where the food is usually given, and they also know who gives them the food.
For example, if you are a farm owner with a small flock of chicks that you feed every day. After a week or so, you’ll notice that the chicks respond to your voice when you provide them with food in their coop. Or they react excitedly whenever they see your face walking up to their pen.
According to some studies, chicks as young as 5 days old could remember where their food is usually placed and go there before it arrives. Hence, the episodic memories of chickens are greatly motivated by food.
Like other animals, chickens are also good at associating pain with negative experiences. So whenever they experience painful stimuli, you’ll notice that the chickens remember it well enough never to repeat the events or actions that led up to the painful stimuli in the first place.
For example, if you have an electric fence around your farm and one of your chickens went near and got shocked by the fence, it is unlikely that the chicken will ever go near it again.
If other chickens have witnessed this particular chicken getting electrified by the fence, the chances are that they will also avoid going anywhere near the fence.
Adverse events or experiences:
As with human beings or any other animal, whenever a negative event is experienced, chickens also tend to avoid these places and objects because of the negative association.
Whether the negative experience was physical or emotional, chickens will react negatively to any event, place, or animal that has caused them the negative experience in the first place.
Chickens are pretty good at remembering faces and voices. If you are a regular feeder of your chickens, you’ll notice that they will immediately recognize your face and voice whenever you go near the chicken coop during meal times.
According to some research, chickens can even remember the faces of individuals through photographs even if the person is not physically present.
The memory of a chicken is not as poor as was once believed by many people. Tons of clinical trials show the chickens’ responses to stimuli as a sign of brilliant birds who can exercise empathy, facilitate both short and long-term memory and even have self-control.
As farfetched as the idea seems, chickens are like any other domesticated animal who loves socializing. Hence, if you plan to raise chickens, ensure you always have two or more because they might get very lonely.