If there is anything that will remind people that America’s strongest asset is its inclusiveness, it’s a chicken playing “America The Beautiful” on a keyboard.
The chicken in question is named “Jokgu,” and she’s an 19-month-old Buff Brahma Bantam who lives in a coop in Germantown, Maryland, that is stocked with toy musical instruments.
Usually, the chickens just haphazardly pluck and peck the instruments randomly, but coop co-owner Shannon Myers recently decided to see Jokgu could do something more noteworthy and play a real song.
“It took about 2 weeks to get her to this level through clicker training,” Myers told HuffPost in an email. “Just about 10 minutes to get her to peck the keys initially.”
Clicker training is a form of animal training that uses positive reinforcement to shape behavior.
“You click when the behavior is done, then reward,” Myers said. “Because you can click faster than give a reward, they immediately associate the click with the wanted behavior which then leads to reward.”
We may be reading into Jokgu’s performance, but she seemed to put extra feeling into the “amber waves of grain” part of the song.
Besides the fact that “America The Beautiful” is a beautiful but relatively simple song, there was another reason why Myers chose to teach it to her.
“My chicken coop partner’s family, of Asian heritage, immigrated here,” she said. “We wanted Jokgu (which is Korean for a type of football/soccer game) to play something that I thought at the heart is so true ― that America is Beautiful.
“What better ambassador than a Chinese breed chicken with a Korean name playing an American anthem?”
Jokgu was also egged on to learn to play a duet version of that keyboard classic, “Heart And Soul.” Frankly, it sounds better than some of the renditions parents are forced to endure at their kids’ recitals.
Jokgu isn’t just a solo act. She also clucks around with other musical chickens in an act called the “Flockstars.”
Based on the video below, their stuff is mostly for eggheads.