July 12th, 2024

Intelligent B.C. chicken Lacey pecks her way to Guinness World Record

By Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press on July 3, 2024.

A hen named Lacey is shown in this undated handout photo. Lacey, a Hyline hen from Gabriola Island, B.C., has earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for correctly identifying the most objects in one minute. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jeanette Martin, Shutterjet Photography *MANDATORY CREDIT*

VICTORIA – A British Columbia chicken named Lacey has earned a Guinness World Record for correctly identifying the most objects in one minute.

The world record shows that chickens are intelligent, and Lacey now has bragging rights as one of the world’s smartest hens, said owner Emily Carrington, a veterinarian who lives with Lacey on Gabriola Island.

“I just got the news a week or two ago that she’d been awarded the record,” said Carrington, who trained six of her chickens to do a series of identification tricks. Lacey, an 18-month-old Hyline hen, came out on top.

“On the day of the record, I ran three or four of them through the different tricks and Lacey happened to be the one who got the most tricks in one minute,” she said on Wednesday. “The chickens were identifying a target they had memorized. It highlighted their intelligence.”

In a video of Lacey setting the record of six identifications, Carrington shows the hen a series of letters, numbers and coloured objects, before Lacey correctly pecks them out from among similar objects.

“I was just using their ability to see what they were capable of doing,” said Carrington. “I was just going with visual cues. Their sole task, when I presented the letters in front of them, was to walk up and peck the letter. It’s a great, fun way to show that they’re smart.”

Carrington said Guinness officials sent a letter last month naming her the holder of the record for “most identifications by a chicken in one minute.”

She said Guinness World Records created the category because the tricks Lacey performed “showed intelligence and making choices.”

“We are thrilled to inform you that your application for most identifications by a chicken in one minute has been successful and you are now the Guinness World Records Title Holder!” the letter from Guinness World Records says.

Carrington had originally hoped one of her chickens would set the record for the most number of tricks by a chicken in a minute, but Guinness officials created the new category to more accurately reflect Lacey’s achievement.

In addition to being able to identify letters and other objects, Lacey can jump through hoops and lay one egg a day, Carrington said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2024.

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