Most homesteads around Cambodia have chickens. Ours has chickens and turkeys and geese. But one fowl creature stands out. We call her EB, short for early bird. Every morning she is the first one to leave the coop and wander down where the handouts are good. Both we and our neighbors spoil them by sharing our breakfast.
EB first showed us her independence. While the others clustered together to eat bugs in the grass, she would come over and greet us as we ate our fruit. She likes seeds from papaya (la hong) and watermelon. Then she learned that our neighbors drop crumbs from cookies they have with their coffee. Another bonanza. And this was where we noticed her intelligence. She didn't tell the others. She kept mum. The neighbor's dog, Lena, knows, of course, and competes with EB, but it is largely friendly.
The other day we found that EB had taught our neighbor a new trick. He hold food up at chest level and says "jump". To make him feel good, EB jumps and takes the food. But I am sure the real satisfaction for her was in teaching him to hold food at different levels for her enjoyment while she pretended that he was training her.
We look at her with fresh respect and hope that she doesn't become too successful. Her Khmer owners are nice people but not particularly sentimental about chickens.