Monday, 3 September 2012

Not-So-Happy Hens.

Okay, so I mentioned a while back that I was in the process of doing some lab experiments involving chickens. Some of you may be thinking "how the hell do chickens relate to psychology?". Well...prepare yourselves...I'm about to drop some knowledge.

By putting hens in a chamber (which contains a feeder and a lit-up button), we can learn about shaping behaviour through the use of rewards. Basically, we have to teach the hen to peck the button in return for some food. The hen eventually comes to peck the button pretty reliably, as it has learnt that it will get food when it pecks. Happy Hens all round. Or so we thought. Turns out our hen is a bit of a diva, and DOES NOT like being picked up and put in a box. There were a few occasions where we had to chase her around the room after she refused to be weighed.

I promised that I would snap a picture of me and my hen. We got to name her as well, eventually settling on Florence. Flo for short. We then had a massive LOL when we realised that our experiments involved putting her in a machine. Hahaha! Still makes me laugh.

Here is the photo of myself and Florence the Hen! I apologize for it only being my arms in the photo. I had to crop it - it was from a bad angle and I may have had more than one chin.....

As you can see, she looks real happy.....

We've finally finished all of the experiments, so no more hanging out at the smelly animal lab :)

I'll be back tomorrow with my latest 'On your screen' link up.

xoxo - Rach


  1. I grew up on a farm and I had chickens as pets, so this assignment bothered me so much when I did it. Weighing the hen was my least favourite part, because I was the one who knew how to handle the chicken, so I had to do the weighing.

    I decided then that any more behavioural psych I take has to be ALL theory, or use human participants. It upset me that much.

    1. Oh no! That sucks to hear that you were upset by this experiment!
      Our chickens aren't mistreated though - we have a really wonderful lab technician who loves all the animals and takes good care of them. And they go straight back outside to be free range hens once we are finished the experiments. :)