The 2002 Swedish study that discovered hens’ preference for pretty humans actually trained four hens to react to photographs of an average female face, but not an average male face. They then trained two roosters to react to photographs of an average male face, but not an average female face.
The researchers then showed the birds photographs of faces with exaggerated masculine and feminine traits. As it turns out, the chickens reacted more to the symmetrical, pretty faces. An interesting sidenote here is that the researchers also conducted a similar experiment with 14 people, which revealed people preferred symmetrical faces over the average female/male faces, too.
“We trained chickens to react to an average human female face but not to an average male face (or vice versa). In a subsequent test, the animals showed preferences for faces consistent with human sexual preferences (obtained from university students),” wrote the researchers.
The research suggests that chickens can tell the difference between human faces, and prefer those with more aesthetically pleasing features. So, if your pet chickens prefer a particular member of the family, it might be that the chicken thinks they’re just prettier than you!
Want to know why chickens make good pets? Watch the Dr. Harry video below!