Don't count your chickens - leave the sums to them! Animal lover claims rescued battery hen has eggstraordinary head for maths


She would be a great entertainer at a hen party.
The card trick that JJ can perform would leave guests in raptures.
For the rescued battery hen has been taught to count from one to seven – and is currently trying to crack eight. She shows her numeracy by pecking on a playing card the same number of times as the number of hearts, clubs, diamonds or spades printed on it.

Of course, the fact that JJ is rewarded with sunflower seeds every time she gives the right answer might explain her enthusiasm.
Owner Helen Jones, a former boss at a large catering firm, said: ‘I spent many years managing people and training people how to manage. I can honestly say training JJ was much easier.

Eggs-traordinary: JJ the counting chicken taps her beak on it the same as many times as the number printed on the card

‘She really is the most remarkable hen. She is trying to learn how to count to eight but she keeps getting a little confused.
‘She will get there. She is our little [Carol] Vorderman after all.’
Mrs Jones, a landscape gardener from Felmingham, Norfolk, who runs a shelter for rescued chickens, began teaching JJ after watching a BBC2 programme, The Private Life of ... Chickens. It revealed that hens have a good visual memory, enabling them to associate patterns with food rewards.

Hen-spired: JJ with owner Helen Jones who offers her a treat every time the hen counts correctly

She started by showing JJ an ace and tapping the card once with her finger. If the bird pecked the card once, she received a treat. ‘She seemed to take to it very, very well. We were amazed,’ said Mrs Jones.
JJ’s astonishing progress has been achieved in just six weeks.
Mrs Jones added: ‘The other chickens are amazed. They all stand and watch and then want to have a go themselves. One or two have tried it but they don’t seem to get it.’

Rescued: JJ was days from death and is shown here just after being liberated from a battery farm with a broken pelvis

JJ – whose name comes from the initials of Mrs Jones’s husband Justin – was rescued from a battery farm by the British Hen Welfare Trust last summer.
Her number was almost up at that point as she had a broken pelvis at the age of 18 months and was days away from being slaughtered.
Jane Howorth, founder of the Trust, said: ‘Hens are underrated on so many levels ... they are not the bird brains they are so often assumed to be.’

source: dailymail