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Posts Tagged ‘animal behavior’

Contributed by Lizette R. Barton with plenty of media help from Jon Endres.

 

September is National Chicken Month.

Sure, it’s just a month co-opted by the chicken industry to get us all to go out and eat chicken but for me it is more than that. Chickens need a month to be celebrated – and not just for their delicious eggs, wings, breasts, legs, and thighs. And livers.

But also for their behavior, their ability to learn, their place in history of psychology and their general coolness.

Without further ado – chickens in the history psychology.

Eckhard Hess (1916-1986) worked with chickens. He used chickens as his subjects in his imprinting and visual perception research. I could watch those chicks in tiny helmets all day.

 

Richard Walk (1920-1999) and Eleanor Gibson (1910-2002) had a variety of animals and babies walk and crawl – or in this case strut – across the visual cliff.

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Richard D. Walk still images collection

 

Cora Friedline’s (1893-1975) Philosophy 13 class assignment,”The Mind of the Chicken,” is a staff favorite. The image below is just one page taken from her 20+ page report.

To quote Friedline, “It is my belief that we learn more by doing than by depending entirely upon books for our knowledge. Accordingly, when I selected the chicken as my subject, I decided I must have one. It was brought to me on Thanksgiving night, and proved to be a Plymouth Rock…whom I called Birdie….there was not a happier person in all of Lincoln than I was that night.”

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Cora L. Friedline papers, M259, folder 1

 

My search for “chicken” then led me to the William S. VerplanckĀ  papers. Paul Mountjoy (1925-2001) asked to know more about “the chicken book” and Verplanck (1916-2002) obliged.

Hey! I know that book! Smith & Daniels “The Chicken Book” was one of the first books I picked up from the library when we decided to start raising chickens.

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William S. Verplanck papers, M1959, folder 9

 

Keller Breland, Marian Breland Bailey, Bob Bailey and their team worked with a variety of animals throughout the course of their careers at Animal Behavior Enterprises. They developed training techniques based on the psychological principles of positive reinforcement which have become the gold standard in animal training.

 

And they did some incredible work with chickens.

 

And finally, quite simply, chickens make really good friends.

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Lizette’s two-year-old son sharing snacks with a friend.

 

 

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