Canadian Poultry Magazine

Guelph study investigates the mental state of poultry


Features Research Welfare

Researchers have moved beyond looking at how to minimize suffering to exploring whether animals can also enjoy their lives.

Stephanie Torrey, an assistant professor of animal science at the University of Guelph, co-led the study.

How do you measure a chicken’s happiness? Is it in the way it runs for food? How much time it spends preening?

To size up what might make chickens happy in their brief lives, researchers at the University of Guelph putting 16 breeds through physical fitness and behavioural tests. They’re watching how well birds scramble over a barrier for food, how skittish they seem and whether they play with a fake worm.

Chickens can’t say how they feel, but playing with a fake worm may be a sign of happiness.


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