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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.

Photo Gallery (click on each photo to enlarge)


Video Clips

The Vending Chicken in action

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Training the Vending Chicken