JJ, a BHWT ex-bat adopted by supporter, Helen Jones, in summer 2011 has
illustrated beautifully that there’s more to a chicken than a tasty egg.
Helen began to teach JJ how to count after watching the programme we made with
Patron, Jimmy Doherty,
The Private Life of Chickens’,
in which hens were taught
by university students to distinguish between stars and circles, and quickly proved
they had a great capacity for learning where mealworms were involved!
Initially Helen showed a card to JJ and when she tapped the card the correct
number of times, she rewarded her with a few sunflower seeds. As Helen
explained: “Birds have a strong visual memory, which means they can quickly
learn to associate patterns with receiving food rewards. I take her to one side away
from the other chickens and spend two or three minutes building up her skills.”
It’s taken JJ (who got her name from the initials of Helen’s husband, Justin Jones)
several months to competently count to seven and she is currently trying to crack
number eight!
Helen added: “She really
is the most remarkable
hen. She is trying to
learn how to count to
eight, but we may have
reached her limit.”
JJ’s mathematical flare
has featured in national
newspapers The Daily
Mail and The Sun, all
thanks to Helen, whose
patience in teaching JJ
has proved that, just like
our cats and dogs, hens
can learn tricks and
communicate with us.”
Watch JJ in training here: