6 Surprising Facts About Farm Animals’ Intelligence
October 8, 2015
We all know how intelligent and sensitive our dogs and cats are. They connect with us, seemingly know what we’re thinking, anticipate our decisions, comfort us when we’re sad, and even fool us to get what they want. But, have you noticed? There are more and more videos on social networks whose protagonists are not our normal furry friends. Pigs, goats, cows, and chickens are some of the new stars, and they are just as smart!
Not surprisingly, science and observation skills are realizing that farm animals (yes, the same that end up in trays in the supermarket fridges) are smart. In fact, very smart! And of course, just as adorable as dogs and cats. Here are some facts that are making more and more people leave our new friends off the menu:
1. Farm animals have complex vocabularies:
Chickens talk to each other? Yes! And have more than 30 different vocalizations! These birds are capable of delivering a wide range of messages. Chickens can tell the rest of the group where to find food and can warn them of predators. Communication begins even before hatching; while still inside the egg, mother hens chirp to their young, and they peep back.
2. They are capable of reasoning and forming opinions:
K-Lynn Smith, from the animal behavior lab at Macquarie University in Australia, investigated the behavior of a group of hens. He discovered that chickens use logic and reason in order to choose with whom roosters will mate. Before choosing their partners, they observe several of them and form their opinions. This means that they can store in their memories every behavior observed in the roosters.
3. They are clever and can fool their friends:
Researchers presented evidence of how clever pigs are. They observed how a pig learned to read the signs of another pig who knew where to find food. They clever pig would follow the trail, however, the other pig knew what was going on and would take him to places where there was no food to fool him. (Just because they’re smart doesn’t mean they like to share)!
Pigs are among the fastest learners in nature, even more than dolphins and primates. They are able to open and close doors, guide flocks of sheep, and can even play video games!
4. They show empathy towards others:
Hens worry when they think their chicks are in danger. They try to protect them from any threat and can only be calm until they ensure their safety.
Cows from the dairy industry are distressed and are deeply saddened when their calves are separated from them within a few days of birth. When that happens, they begin mourning for the loss of their babies for days, heartbreakingly bellowing and crying. It is also known that other cows come to the bereaved mothers and try to help comfort them.
5. They can outpace the intelligence of children, dolphins, primates and other animals that are seen as more intelligent:
Pigs are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, just as elephants and dolphins. They learn faster than dogs or primates and their intelligence is compared to that of a three year old child.
Cows have excellent problem solving skills that involves logic. Once they master how to solve a problem, they celebrate jumping, wagging their tails and running happily.
6. They have an impressive memory:
Keith Kendrick of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge discovered that sheep are able to memorize 50 faces of their companions. They are even able to remember faces after years without seeing them.
Cows feel rancor towards those who have hurt them, perfectly remembering the trauma they’ve experienced. Meanwhile, hens and chicks learn to play games and can remember how to play them. They also remember their favorite special foods.