Tuesday, 17 May 2005

counting your chickens

B and I had a conversation last night about a progamme he'd heard on the radio, discussing the wellbeing of free-range hens.

Apparently someone has done a study on the psychological health of the large numbers hens kept under commercial 'free range' conditions - ie. when there are thousands of them in one field.

The scientist-guy concluded that chickens kept in huge numbers were happier than small flocks of chickens, because they didn't have good enough recognition skills to differentiate between all the different chickens they lived with. So no 'pecking order' appears.

This led B and I on to a discussion about chicken counting. How many other chickens does a hen have to live with before they run out of the processing power to recognise them all? And how do chickens count?

"That chicken, that chicken, that chicken and that chicken equals THOSE chickens"?
I think it could catch on.

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