Are you one of the millions, that has watched the local chick play “America The Beautiful” on the piano?
That’s right the chick — well she’s is 19-months-old now, so she’s more of a chicken — is a local gal. She lives in the Darnestown area. She is Jokgu. She is Buff Brahma Bantam, Chinese breed of a chicken who lives in a coop just south of Germantown.
The video of Jokgu the chicken playing “America The Beautiful” has gone viral on YouTube, and been seen by more than 1.2 million people since it was posted just eight days ago by Jokgu’s owners Shannon Myers and Seiree Arii have a whole peep of chickens. (Yes, a group of young chickens is called a peep.) Myers and Arii have a nine chickens all of different types which they keep for farm fresh eggs and as pets.
The video was posted to YouTube on Jan. 31. Two days later, on Feb. 2, Jokgu video was featured on Huffington Post. Two days later, Jokgu was on The Daily Mail.com. On Monday Jokgu was featured on People.com, which predicted Jokgu would be performing at the 2018 Super Bowl. Over the last week, the video has been pickup on 11 other Internet news sites in eight different languages.
“We like to keep the chickens entertained,” said Myers. “They can get bored pretty easily.” Myers and Arii are self-described “Advocates for Fowl Play.” She said the chickens live in an enclosed chicken run on their property in Darnestown. Myers and Arii began putting musical instruments in the run. “We wanted to give the chickens something to do to keep them from getting bored. Bored chickens are not a good thing,” said Myers.
She said they started with a xylophone which the chickens would go up and peck at different notes. They moved up to a small children’s light up keyboard toy and a small drum set. Soon the Flockstars were hatched, and they started posting videos to their YouTube and FaceBook sites called Two Creative Chicks.
“We started with a video of a chicken playing xylophone,” said Myers. “A lot of the chickens were interested. They pecked and played with it.” Eventually, they moved up to a real keyboard because there would be more options for the song which might be taught to chickens.
Myers and Arii use clicker training, which is a form of animal training that uses positive reinforcement to shape behavior. “This particular chicken really took to the training and the real keyboard,” said Myers.
“The chicken is really playing the song. It is not photoshopped or edited. She can play the song. What you saw is what occurs,” said Myers. “And she knows that song pretty well now. If you watch the video closely, she knows what the intro is and when it is her turn to play and when it is her turn to stop and get her treats.”
It took about two weeks of training to teach Jokgu to play the song, according to Myers. Although Jokgu knows “America the Beautiful” the best, she is working on several different songs. She also knows “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and has worked on a duet version, with a human, of “Heart and Soul.”
However, Arii said to be on the lookout for a new surprise video which may be posted this weekend.
Top: Jokgu, the piano playing chicken from Darnestown prepares to play “America The Beautiful” on piano.
Video: Jokgu tinkles the ivories.
Next: Jokgu and owner Shannon Myers of Darnestown.
Next: Seihee Arii and some of the Flockstars.
Video: The Flockstars peck out a jam.
Photos and videos courtesy Two Creative Chicks