There are days when I feel guilty about the amount of time I spend consuming the gossipy fare on Gawker. But then, just when I am about to turn to web content more wholesome, I come across "You Can No Longer Rationalize Eating Chicken," a defense of chickens as creatures who perhaps should not be eaten so blithely, so profligately, so amorally as we do -- as Gawker reports the results of a study that shows chickens feel empathy. Go Gawker, with your bleeding vegan heart!
Meanwhile, Chicken Corner has observed in her own flock of three that the hens are exquisitely attuned to one another's feelings. Which is not to say they are not above grabbing a tasty worm straight out of the mouth of another if they can manage it -- but they are in constant conversation, most of it very quiet, well below the level of "Cluck!" They coo among themselves like quiet pigeons, and they watch one another closely. With plenty of room, there is no discernible pecking order.