There are many versions of the
Vending Chicken exhibit. In some cases, the chicken would deliver a small
toy to the patron, while in other cases the chicken would deliver a
postcard. The Vending Chicken exhibit could be seen as any other
small-toy vending machine, with one exception. The toys were dispensed by
a live chicken! In other formats the chicken would dispense
fortune-telling cards or small postcards. Why pay some boring old machine
to give you a toy when you can have the toy delivered to you by a chicken
for the same price and twice the fun?
In early versions, the chicken
engaged in only one behavior. For the postcard-vending chicken, the chicken would simply peck at a disk (or pull a loop). This peck (or
pull) would trigger a device that would deliver the post card.
In later versions, two behaviors
were chained together. The scenario would go something like this: the
customer would deposit a coin, which triggered a small light in the
animal's cage. This served as a discriminative stimulus for the bird to
pull a loop. The pull of the loop turned on a “Thank you” sign that the
customer could see. The bird would then press a disk that would result in
the delivery of the postcard. In the Capsule Vending Chicken, the chicken
would first pull a loop that turned on a thank you sign and
then peck at the clear-plastic capsule containing the toy. The capsule
then fell into the hands of the amused customer.