Most of us can tell if a chicken is having a clucking good time

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Seven out of 10 humans can correctly tell if a chicken is happy or not based on their clucks, according to Australian researchers. The team recruited nearly 200 people and played them recordings of different chicken calls – some where they were expecting a reward and some from other contexts. The researchers say 69% of participants correctly guessed whether a chicken was excited about a potential reward, and previous experience didn’t appear to change how accurate their guesses were. The researchers say this provides evidence that we may be able to innately perceive the emotions of chickens, which could help us make better choices about their welfare.

Journal/conference: Royal Society Open Science

Link to research (DOI): 10.1098/rsos.231284

Organisation/s: The University of Queensland

Funder: The authors received no funding for this study.

Media release

From: The Royal Society

Humans can identify reward-related call types of chickens

Royal Society Open Science

Our study provides evidence that humans are able to successfully recognise calls produced by chickens in reward or in non- reward related contexts. Our research finding that people are able to the identify the emotional state of chickens, has implications for the improvement of welfare of farmed chickens.

  • Clucking delighted¬†– Humans can tell if chickens are excited or displeased by clucks alone. Participants listened to calls from chickens anticipating a reward or in a non-reward context. Calls were correctly categorised as reward or non-reward by 69% of participants. The ability to detect emotional information from vocalisation could enhance the management of farmed chickens to improve their welfare.¬†Royal Society Open Science


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  • ¬†Research

    The Royal Society

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