Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bird Brains Think About the Future

Researchers have discovered that chickens can contemplate the future and demonstrate self-control, something they thought only humans could do.

Researchers at the Silsoe Research Institute in England set a bunch of chickens in front of colored buttons. When a bird pecked a button, it received food. If it waited two or three seconds, it received a small amount of food but if it waited for 22 seconds, it received a bonus.

The chickens chose to wait for the extra food 90% of the time, proving they have an awareness of the future.

They concluded that while being prepared for slaughter, they may anticipate their death and experience stress that could affect the quality, taste and texture of their meat.

I don't know if it affects the taste of their meat, but I'm sure they aren't having a good day at that point.

Down the street from us a neighbor has chickens on her farm and I love to watch them clucking and scratching around and interacting with one another. It's clear that they have a society of friendship with one another.

If you need any tips on growing heirloom tomatoes, visit her web site. This year, we're growing Cherokee Purples, Black Krims, and some Himalayan tomato plant whose name I can't recall. We planted one hybrid - just in case the heirlooms don't do well but the heirlooms are ripening and they're so delicious.