The surprising intelligence of farmed animals

It might surprise you to learn that many farmed animals are incredibly intelligent. For example…

The surprising intelligence of farmed animals

If you’ve ever had a pet, you probably thought that they were the smartest animal in the world when you taught them to sit, stay, come, and roll over and they learned these commands with relative ease. But did you know that in the hierarchy of intelligence, your pet probably wasn’t up there with pigs. It might surprise you to learn that many farmed animals are incredibly intelligent. For example…


Ranking #5 in animal intelligence, behind such amazing creatures as elephants and dolphins, pigs are significantly smarter than dogs and have the intellectual capacity of a 3-4 year old human child! In fact, decades of research have shown that pigs have the ability to remember information for long periods of time, pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues from humans, use tools to complete tasks, and demonstrate impressive problem-solving skills. Next time you’re bored, challenge a pig to a video game competition. They’ve been shown to excel at that, too!


Not usually on the list of the top animals for intelligence rankings, cows are starting to get the recognition they deserve thanks to some work being done in Australia. This research has demonstrated that cows are far more intelligent than we may have thought. They have been shown to demonstrate both cognitive abilities and emotional capacity. Cows have even been trained to complete complex tasks. But this intelligence comes with a downside. Cows have also been shown to hold quite a grudge. So, if you make one mad, you’d better apologize fast and offer a couple of treats or you may find yourself on that cow’s “list” forever!


If anyone calls you a bird brain, the most accurate response would be, thank you! Recent research into the intelligence of chickens has been turning up some clucking impressive results! Birds, and chickens in particular, have been shown to have incredible intelligence. Did you know that chickens can be taught to respond to their own name? Or, that they have the ability to learn from past events, demonstrate empathy, and even do math? In fact, they have been shown to be able to recognize up to 100 different faces and some recent studies have put them on par with dogs, cats and 4-year old humans, for intelligence.


Not quite as clever as pigs, sheep can certainly hold their own when it comes to problem solving. Sheep have also demonstrated incredible memories. They can remember more than 50 individual sheep and humans for up to two years and their IQ has been ranked as similar to that of a cow.

Every day, more and more research is going into determining the intelligence of farmed animals and the results are impressive…but not surprising. If you spend any time with these amazing creatures, you’ll soon discover for yourself how incredibly smart they truly are.