Cunning, Intelligence and Free Ranging Chickens

I don’t think this applies to caged chickens, but my experience with caged birds is limited.  All I can actually tell you is that free ranging chickens are some of the most cunning, cagy, calculating, communist creatures on the planet.

A free ranging hen can calculate to the second how long it takes my eyes to narrow, my jaw to clamp, pause listening, and spring out of my chair when I’m trying to do something on the comp and I hear a chicken on the porch.

A free ranging hen can judge almost to the inch how far and hard a person can throw a rock with any accuracy.  A free ranging hen can predict almost exactly how far and how fast a 70 year old man can run swinging a stick before he gives out.

A free ranging hen is able to predict within a few seconds how long and how loud it can cackle and raise hell just outside the window before it needs to start dodging rocks or running into the bushes.

A free ranging chicken recognizes a slingshot and knows the difference between a slingshot stretched as an empty threat, and a slingshot with just about a bellyfull of chicken games.

A free ranging chicken usually won’t eat ants unless it thinks a person would rather it didn’t, in which case it will.  The whole flock will stand on a red ant bed pecking, so long as the ants aren’t carrying off their feed to the ant bed.

A free ranging chicken will ignore hard cat food scattered around on the ground away from the porch, but it will sneak around trying to find some on the porch everytime it thinks a person’s in the middle of something needs concentration.

I subscribe to the philosophy the reason the chicken crossed the road was for practice.  Training dodging cars.  And motivated by some human being not wanting it to cross the road.  Try to get a chicken to cross the road and it’s going to stay home cackling under the window or crapping on the porch.

Old Jules

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15 responses to “Cunning, Intelligence and Free Ranging Chickens

  1. The Good Luck Duck

    Ducks would be almost that wily, if they could do math.

  2. What breed is that black and white zebra one on the right? I’ve forgotten. Thanks for the post.

    • Hi Kristin. She’s a mutt… a cross between the Great Speckled Bird and an Australorp. She’s one of the younger hens here, hatched in December 2010. Maybe 2009. She mostly thinks she’s a hen, but goes through phases thinking she’s a rooster if TGSB’s feeling poorly. She’s definitely got some rooster blood in her. Crows an exact imitation of TGSB, mounts the other hens, generally confuses things. Seems to help if I let the bachelor roosters out frequently. Otherwise she might fertilize her own eggs. Gracias, J

  3. Ah yes, I see I am in the presence of a old, wily, almost-chicken-intelligence human here! Uncanny little buggers, aren’t they?

  4. Oh boy, do i know what you mean! I had a rooster crow just as it was about to dart off the porch the other day, it just had to have the last word!! c

  5. And they also know when a pump gun is loaded any time you walk outside with it.

  6. Sounds about right! It seems that whenever I tell anyone “I don’t like chickens,” they freak out and get mad at me. Well, THEY’VE never been around any themselves. Don’t preach what you don’t practice!

  7. You make me laugh so much- can just image the devils

  8. Never met a chicken I didn’t like. Hmm. You’ve got bad ones, eh? (Don’t know a thing about chicken except eating them)

  9. We have a neighbor, who has free range chickens, and last year as I was walking I was lucky to snap a picture as one of them crossed the road. If it had known I had a camera it wouldn’t have moved at all.

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  13. Chickens & probably most of the other animals are a lot smarter than some humans give them credit…

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