20 Surprising Facts About Chickens You Didn’t Know

surprising things about chickens

For those who have kept chickens for any length of time, we like to think we know all the facts about chickens. Like what time they rise for breakfast all the way through to their favorite things to eat (for ours, it’s worms)!

However, we’d bet that below we have compiled 20 surprising things even the most seasoned chicken-keeper wouldn’t know before reading this…

 

1. #1 Fact About Chickens, They See Better Than Humans

It’s widely believed that chickens are color blind and have poor vision- this is not the case. They actually have better vision than humans.

Humans have three different cone types in their eyes, which means we can perceive red, green, and blue colors.

Whereas chickens have an additional two cone types, they can also distinguish violet and ultraviolet light.

This means roosters can see the sunrise and crow well before humans can even see the sunrise- often, this is around an hour before humans can see the sunrise.

2. Chickens Teach Each Other

So you thought it was only humans who taught their offspring? Nope, hens teach their chicks from a young age what they should and shouldn’t eat.

In a laboratory, scientists tested this and found that mother hens taught their chicks to avoid certain colored grains. [source]

3. Facts About Chickens, They Have Their Own Language

Chickens have over 30 unique noises they can produce- all of which are used for different purposes. Their clucks and crows are mostly used to raise the alarm, normally either for danger or food!

We say over 30 unique noises, but in reality, it’s probably much higher than this. However, so far, scientists have only tracked 30. [source]

Roosters, for example, have different vocalizations that alert their hens to newly discovered food items. He will cluck to them to tell them to stop by and have a snack, and as always, ladies first.

A rooster’s crow alarms hens of impending danger, but it can also be a way of communicating with their caretakers when they need something.

Roosters will also show his hens where he believes are the perfect nesting areas. He will snuggle into a small space and cluck lightly to his hens to showcase how and where they should nest.

4. Chickens Know Who Their Owners Are

Chickens can recognize up to one hundred human faces. This means it doesn’t take them long to recognize who their owners are and who the nice person is that feeds them every morning.
In fact, many chicken owners even claim that their chickens can recognize their pet dogs- however, we haven’t introduced our dogs to the chickens yet… just in case!!

Facts About Chickens

5. Fun Facts About Chickens The Earliest Chicken Joke Is Dated To 1847

So we all love a good why did the chicken cross the road joke!
Q: Why did the chicken run across the road?
A: There was a car coming.
Q: Why did the rubber chicken cross the road?
A: She wanted to stretch her legs.
Moving swiftly on from these poor jokes! They wrote the first chicken joke in 1847 in the New York Monthly Magazine.

6. Chicks Are Smarter Than Babies: Facts About Chickens

Object permanence is the ability to understand that objects still exist even if they are not visible.
Human babies can typically grasp object permanence at around seven months- however, baby chicks develop this ability sometimes in as little as 2 days old.

facts about chickens

7. Chickens Dream

Did you know that chickens experience rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep? It’s during REM sleep that we dream- we like to think that our chickens are dreaming about that nice fresh straw we’ve just lined their nesting box with.

Or, perhaps that lovely freshwater we’ve just filled their drinker with!

8. Record Breaking Facts About Chickens: The Oldest Chicken Ever Lived To 22 Years Old

The average chicken has a life expectancy of around 3 to 4 years due to its vulnerability to predators and diseases. However, well cared for backyard chickens can live to around double at 7-8 years.

However, Muffy, the oldest chicken ever, lived until she was 22 years old! Muffy was a Red Quill Muffed American Game born in Maryland.

9. Hens Comb’s Get Larger Just before They Lay

Hens give off numerous signs when they are ready to lay an egg. For instance, her comb will become a much more vivid red, and she will act more submissively.

 

10. Scientific Facts About Chickens, They Were the First Bird to Have Their DNA Sequenced

In 2004, the chicken genome was sequenced- this makes them the first bird ever to have their entire genome sequenced…

Facts About Chickens

11. Chickens Outnumber Humans By Roughly 4 To 1

If we include every single type of chicken breed, there are over 25,000,000,000 (billion) currently on earth.

Not only does this make them the most common type of bird on the planet it also means they nearly outnumber humans by 4 to 1.

12. Pre-historic Facts About Chickens: Dinosaurs = Chicken?

Chickens can be traced back to the theropods- a group of saurischian dinosaurs which date back to the late Triassic period (around 200 million years ago).

It’s strange to think, isn’t it, that those tiny little chickens in our backyard have evolved from something as dangerous as a T-Rex! [source]

facts about chickens

13. Hens Talk To Their Chicks before They Hatch

Did you know that hens ‘talk’ or cluck to their chicks whilst they are still in their eggs? As the chicks grow older and develop within the eggs, they also begin to peep and squeak back to their mum.

This helps the chicks to create a bond with their mother before they even hatch.
When chicks hatch, they know their mother’s voice and will follow it everywhere.

If you’ve allowed your hen to brood on her nest and hatch her own chicks, you’ve had the opportunity to witness an iron-clad relationship between mother hen and chick.

Those babies know their mum’s voice from day one.

14. Fast Facts About Chickens, They Are Speedy

Ok, if you’ve ever tried to round chickens up, you already know just how fast they are. I still remember the first time I tried to chase the chickens into their coop.

An hour later, they were still merrily clucking outside!!
But do you know how fast chickens can run?

They can get up to 9mph for short bursts, but chickens’ real advantage comes in their agility- they can turn on a six-pence.

This speedy and agility really helps keep them safe from predators- or helps them avoid us when we are trying to round them up back into their coop.

15. Chickens Have Hierarchies

The term pecking order comes from chickens because they operate a stringent hierarchy- with those chickens and the top of the hierarchy laying down the rules to those chickens beneath them.

In fact, if you introduce two flocks of chickens together, they will normally joust each other to determine this order.

The pecking order isn’t solely for the hens. It also includes roosters, and they normally dominate the pecking order.

If you watch hens closely, they will feed close to the most dominant roosters because he will protect them.

Facts About Chickens

16. Chickens Love Playing

If you keep chickens in your own backyard, you will certainly know this. However, if you have never seen free-range chickens before, this fact might surprise you…

Chickens like to spend a large part of their day running, scraping, and jousting other chickens.

17. Dust Baths Are Chickens Best Friends

In any chicken pen, you will see huge chicken-sized holes in the ground- have you ever wondered what they are for?

Chickens love to dig down into the ground and create themselves a ‘dust’ bath. They do this to keep themselves clean and also during the summer to try and cool down.

18. Domesticated Chickens Came From Asian Jungle Fowl

Many researchers now believe that the domesticated chickens we keep in our backyard originate from Asian jungle fowl.

Unfortunately, historically, this jungle fowl was first domesticated for cockfighting.

Fortunately, cockfighting is now banned in many countries throughout the world. [source]

19. Sad Facts About Chickens is That Certain Breeds Are About To Become Extinct.

Although some 25 billion chickens alive today- more traditional breeds are increasingly at risk of becoming extinct.

Many farmers now prefer hybrid chickens who consume minimal amounts of food and produce vast quantities of eggs…

If you are interested in seeing which breeds are at risk, be sure to visit the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

20. A Dozen Eggs Needs Four Pounds of Feed

For a normal hen to lay 12 eggs, they need to consume roughly four pounds of feed.

21. Chickens Have Friendly Personalities

Some people think chickens are never to be considered pets. On the contrary, many breeds are friendlier than other breeds.

And even within certain breeds, there’s always an exception to the rule.

Some, who have experienced the companionship of a friendly chicken, have begun bringing chickens into nursing homes and schools to provide therapy or companionship.

Some chickens enjoy being held and are tame enough to help others who need a boost.


So these are our favorite facts about chickens that we didn’t know before writing this article. Leave us a comment below with an interesting fact about chickens you think we won’t know!

READ NEXT: 47 Backyard Chicken Owners Speak Out: “What I Wish I’d Known Before Keeping Backyard Chickens”

20 Surprising Facts About Chickens You Didn't Know

148 thoughts on “20 Surprising Facts About Chickens You Didn’t Know

    1. We have several different breeds living together except the bannies they live alone as do the silkys,&concha’s,the speckled barn rocks,pullets n n beared chockens all live together yet we have one rhoade island red n whote pullet who live rogether but seperately from rhe otbers as the red is daddys girl.
      She has to have her Purina dog chow n corn in the morning I work on big trucks n equipment n she has to get in n on top of the teicks,climb on the motors n loves to ride be it on the dash of my pickup or on the fender of the bachoe.
      She comes to me as real times a day n kinda squats n makes a noise spreading her wings n shoulders down level wanting me to rub her back she gets on my shoulder n rides there or simply gets in my lap n lays down.
      So yes she’s a daddy’s girl when I walk around the farm she follows me everywhere like a dog.
      We have 6 pit bulls n it’s funny as the chickens lay with them,eat tbeir food n drink out of tbeir water buckets as the ducks do.
      We had one car who thought he would chase the ducks n chickens until one day they chased him up a tree n the ducks flew up in the tree n he fell out.
      3 to 4 days old cat come back from hiding n now he has respect for all the yard birds.
      We had 2 reds,both female my wife named them Lucy n Ethel,Lucy was hers n Ethel mine Lucy come up missing but ok Ethel is still hanging on with the pulley who’s name is miss chick chick n believe me every animal on our farm has a name n they all seem to know it be it dog,cat,chicken or duck.
      The truly amazing thing is when animal control n wildlife came by n seen how they all live together n inner act
      As for chasing them to put them up at night,no problem when it gets dark they go in on their own n get in their boxes ball we do is close the door.
      I Nick named my wife ellymae long time ago as she just simply has away with critters,lol they just seem to draw to her like she’s mom.
      Animals are amazing n due to feeding our girl’s Purina a daily dog food they pretty much lay eggs year round n out of 9 girls we tend to get 14 to 18 aday

        1. Go for Pakistani breeds, never buy European breeds, they are really good layers, but won’t resist to the Pakistani heat, unless you pay to cool down their coop a big part of the year. Pakistani breeds: Asil, Desi, Misri, Lyallpur, Sindhi… It’s the safer. Or go for other breeds that come from countries with a climate similar to Pakistan.

      1. Nice post , my Lab killed one of my four hens , I was mad enough to put him down after killing one of my laying hens but instead I tied him up and beat him with her dead body , he has got after my rooster a time or two but for the most part my three dogs know I love my Chicks.

        1. Donnie How cruel i say you look after your chickens more carefully, it was your fault the dog killed the chicken not the dogs, as a dog owner you should have known better and your responsibility to keep your chickens safe… beat the dog for your mistakes !!! give the dog to a better home you should have beat yourself

          1. But to be fair he can’t just watch a flock of chickens and a bunch of dogs all at the same time he needs time to himself but still what he did was still quite mean

          2. @Ruke It’s not “mean” it’s criminal and worth to be put in jail in some countries. To be “mean” is to call someone an idiot, to be a criminal is to practice murders or animal cruelty (very often murderers start by practicing animal cruelty, because they have no compassion at all, and no heart).

        2. How mean!… it is dogs instinct…u r a cruel person…my neighbors dog killed one of my hens but I did not hurt the dog..

        3. Shame on you Donnie. You beat a dog for being a dog.
          You may love your chickens but if you had a pet lizard for examplefor a pet and your chick ate it ,,what would you do… tie your chick to a tree and beat it. You are a simple minded little man and i hope someone takes pity on your dog and rescue’s it from your ignorance.

        4. This is sad. Read what you posted. That poor dog needs another owner, someone with compassion, who understands and loves animals. You should have none.

        5. That is gross about beating the dog with the chicken. Sounds like you have no respect for any animals

        6. Horrible, its the dogs instincts to hunt and kill the birds! Thats just cruel, beat yourself now, you let the dog get to the hens.

        7. My lab killed a bunch of baby rabbits in our old garden, we didn’t beat him with a dead body though, we just disciplined him. This is not related to chickens it just reminded me of that from this story.

        8. Donnie, your place is in a jail or in a mad asylum. Do something for us, don’t have animals! In my country, you would be put in jail for this.

        9. How cruel. The dog was doing what dogs do ! Go and beat yourself up you are the one at fault.NOT THE DOG. Get a grip please !

        10. I agree with donnie! using the carcass as a tool to discipline can work..but its better to take the carcass and tie it to the dog and when it starts to rot, they become turned off by the smell. All I can say to these posts about cruelty..wait till the nieghbors dog, or a coyote, or a coon, or a opossum climbs your fence and kills most of your flock…then go and feel empathy for the poor dog, or raccoon, or opossum. I live way out in the country..been raising livestock all my life. I get attached to my chickens, my dog, horses..all my stock.

      2. That’s not good, food dogs are for dogs. Please, don’t give silly advices! It drives me mad when I see people not able to care about animals properly. Dog food are not made for chickens. Will you give dog food to your children or to your turtles? That’s totally crazy! If they eat some by mistakes or from time to time, it’s not a big deal, but everyday!!! You kill your flock. Ask a vet please. They would say the same that I’m trying to tell you. Maybe your chicken only need more proteins, fish or meat.

        1. aren’t you a hateful snob…if you would bother doing a bit of research you would find that a lot of people feed their chickens dog food (along with corn or chicken feed) and that the experts agree it is perfectly fine to do!! You sound like a know it all in all of your responses but on this you are just plain wrong!

        2. i had a hen that would waltz in thru the dog door ever morn. go straight to dog bowl, eat her fill then off to the laundry basket, where she’d pay me with a big beautiful egg. ide tell her thanks and out she’d go. it was soo darn funny!

  1. Our hen likes music and sing alone with the tune. Her favourite is ‘Desert Rose’ by Sting and Carpenters Rainy Mondays. As well watching TV and commenting sometimes. Love colour blue when she sees it on TV , she make happy noise. She was injured and spent some time indoors recovering, Now she is back to the coup but keep coming for visits every single day. Her favourite treat- baby bell cheese. In a winter she love to lie next to hot air heating system which blows quite hot I have to say.

      1. Aww chickens are so cute and these are pretty cool facts, next time i hear someone say chickens are dumb, ill pull these facts on them! :3

      2. Love my girls they all have their own personalities. They are not stupid like people believe. They come when called and my head hen Coco pulls her head in when she’s told. Had one Rhode island red named Steggles that escaped a chicken farm daughter off a goanna and would fight the dog for her bone, sleep on the lounge under a blanket with my daughter. Tell me that’s not clever.

    1. My chickens love music too!
      If we have music playing down at the house they come running, our chick Spring finds this a good opportunity to steal the food! ?
      Jack

      1. My chicken thinks she’s a dog she has a feather that sticks out and like a dog she chases it. Every time my friends ask me what pet I have I just say a dog… XD

  2. I have a little serama chicken and she can not be alone, everyday I bring her inside and she just falls asleep in my lap with her crazy snoring. Then I have an Americana who always lays an egg in my pugs bed every time she make her way in the house.

  3. I love chicken as food and a pet I have 23 pet chickens at home and we use the eggs for breakfast every morning. I’m glad that you made this site because most people do not realize how something so small could have something so intelligent.

  4. Is it true that baby chicks need to see red? My parents put a red light bulb in the coop to keep the chicks from pecking each other until they saw blood

    1. Hi Scarlett,
      Yes chickens do have a fixation with the color red and will peck red colored things excessively!
      Claire

    2. It’s not true at all, they don’t “need” to see the red color, being very sensitive to the red color, and having the “need” to see it is really diffeent, and red lights are unhealthy. I used them because I didn’t have lightless bulb, they are the best ones. Just imagine you sleep every night with a light. It’s not a joke, there are research papers about that, and how chicks that had too many light all the day (night & day) without respecting natural circadian cycles are more prone to diseases later. Healthy chickens are chickens with natural light. The night/day alternance is important for our brain, it’s also important and healthy for chicken brains.

  5. I just got 3 four months and i have two questions
    •When do they start laying
    •I need a name for my 3rd chicken…she is kinda a brown copper color

    1. Hi Lauren,
      When they start laying will depend mainly on their breed. You should expect anywhere from 20-28 weeks though…
      How about ‘Peep’ 🙂
      Claire

    2. Most chickens lay at 6 mos, but it varies depending on the breed. just google the breed it will tell you.
      I have a Welsummer she is in the brown tones, I named her Coco

  6. Just started raising backyard chickens last March, started with 6 sex link layers. They are so funny but of late one of the girls seems to have become a bully to one maybe two of her companions. I thought at first one was molting around her neck but I actually witnessed the pecking first hand. What, if anything, can be done to stop this?

    1. Without a rooster present, and with so few hens, it is not unusual for one hen to assume some rooster behavior qualities, to sort of rule the roost. That is why I always keep two or three roosters for my several hundred hens to provide protection, and also a stabilizing factor in the hierarchy. They break up the flock into harems, so there is less threat from predators with them all not present in one area. Also it gives hens being harassed by other hens a safe haven in another social group under a different rooster.

  7. Hi, we have 4 hens and 1 great rooster that just showed up in our yard 6 months ago, they are completely free to come a go wherever on our 2 acres, they live in our redwood trees and we feed them scratch twice a day. We love the darn things but don’t really want them to have a bunch of babies anything we can do about that?

    1. Please, don’t let animals sleeping in trees. This rooster will have a very short life. He needs a coop. He needs to be protected from predators, wind, cold, heat… And because you don’t want babies, you should simply remove the eggs as soons as they are layed. But be careful, some hens hide their eggs!

  8. A gamecock rooster just came into my yard last June, it has befriended my old Begal dog and my Tom cat. They all stay in the garage and the rooster even sleeps in their bed with them if he can find room. It’s the cutest thing, has anyone else ever seen this kind of behavior ? It follows the dog everywhere he goes. ?????

    1. I often find my 6 chicks (about 3 months old) in the front yard hanging out with the dog (pit bull)…sometimes they’re all in the dog house! BFFs?

  9. Does anyone have a good, easy way to get the chickens in at nigh? We will be having a large run adjacent to the coop. Can you call them? Or bribe them? Or….

    1. Everytime you give them a snack have a distinct call. Soon that call will have them running to you. I do that everyday before bed to put them to bed.

    2. I usually just throw them a snack into the pen and the come running and I just close the door behind them. However it’s never been a problem to get them in at night for me because they follow me everywhere I go. Maybe I just got lucky lol.

      1. You don’t need to do that. They go by themselves to bed. Except of course, if you are not free in the evening, and can’t lock the door after them, or have an automatic door. But they are not happy at all to go to bed before the normal hour. The normal hour is when they feel the need, because night is coming. It’s very early in the winter, and late in the summer. It’s called natural rythmes. They need it.

    3. When we introduce pullets from our grow out pens, we transfer them after they fall asleep to roosting bars in our chicken tractors in the pasture/woods operation. They stay locked up for 48 hours where they find food, water, nesting boxes and roosting bars. The first time out in the pasture is about two hours before sunset. They put themselves back in the chicken tractors with no effort. Keep adding an hour a day until they are outside from about 7 am until natural sunset. No problem.

    4. I recently bought 3 guineas in March, 10 chickens in April. Built them a nice pen and a nice house. I put them on a schedule from day 1. I feed and water them at the same time every morning, and evening. I feed them every evening around 7:00 p.m. and they will all put themselves to bed, inside their house by 8:30. All I have to do is shut the door, I also bought, a solar light from Amazon, I turn on at night. They love it. Guineas and chickens are like all other animals. They are trainable. Good luck.

      1. Every chickens do. But you really need to close yourself the door to prevent predators, or to install an automatic door.

  10. We just got 4hens and1 rooster . The rooster is truley the cock of the walk .they love him and talk and follow him around all day and roost close to him at night . This is so cool .I’m learning a lot just watching them.

  11. I just got five baby chicks. This article is very helpful in helping me be a good mother to my chickens. Thank you.

  12. I have three 18 week old Rhode Island Red Cross Hampshire and canhardly wait for them to start laying – maybe another 4-6 weeks. They free range in my backyard with three dogs – everyone is happy.

  13. We have a roost and 3 Hens and just the other day my husband was playing around with him and was making that clucking sound the Hens make and out of nowhere the rooster comes and started dancing or moving his feet up and down in a circle like that pinguin on happy feet the movie it was too cute and funny so we named him mumble.

  14. My first time raising hens . I have JOSIE, LEONA and. LOUISE , I collect 3 eggs a day, I left an uncut strip in the yard for. their playground,

  15. I just got my “laying” chicks, 5 brown, 6 black and 1 white….. the co-op did not say what type they are. it seems that they all get along except the white one seems to stay away from the rest of them, they don’t push her away. They all have grown and are very healthy except her now….. so I have separated her and have been hand feeding and watering her…. I also put her under a light to keep her warm. Is there any reason why she stays away from them… no one has bullied her. I am actually thinking it’s because she is the only white one!!!

    1. Hi Donna,
      After you’ve checked her for any signs of damage or infection I wouldn’t worry too much. Every flock tends to have a loner or two 🙂
      Claire

  16. My chickens growl. Do all chickens do this. They have been raised with dogs and the growl sounds just like them. Emotion is expressed very clearly this way. Let me know. Clarese elverta ca

    1. I have heard my girls making a deep chirping noise but I wouldn’t call it a growl 🙂
      Do you have a video of this!?
      Claire

    2. My chickens growl as well. Never heard it before until danger showed up in the form of a hawk. I only hear it from them when danger is present. Most of the time I don’t see the predator, but they do, first. Exceptional eyesight.

  17. My chicken actually sang a song just like a songbird would one day. Is this common behavior? She was laying at my feet and just burst into the most beautiful song! It was incredible.

  18. I have 8 silkies…..I believe I have 6 hens and 2 cocks but not 100% sure.
    they bring so much joy I just love watching them live their little lifes…..theyre 14 weeks old now .why have I never been a mummy to chickens before .

  19. wow. from day one our girls walked into their coop. I thought ALL chickens did that. lol.
    They do free range during the day, and they LOVE all the scraps they get. They really love pasta and rice. Mealworms are their all time favourite treat though. I have a self sorting meal worm farm going, and it’s great. Can’t wait for the next generation so the girls will have a hearty treat for bed time.
    Three of four are laying, and we get at least two eggs every day. Most days three. The fourth girl is still a little young. But she’s close 🙂
    My daughter loves collecting the eggs, and watching them play on her trampoline. The way they joust with our dog or just scratch amongst the bark with him. ANd he eats grass with them :/ silly dog.

  20. I don’t have any chickens at this time but plan on getting some in the near future. The information is interesting and informative .
    Thanks

  21. I’m about to get 3 chickens all are 20 weeks old, how long do I need to keep them in their coop before I can let them free range with some confidence that they will return to the coop in the evening? Could I please have some guidance as to when I can start feeding the chickens layer pellets?

    1. Hi Andrew,
      I would leave them in the coop for 24 hours before letting them range.
      As for layers pellets, you can start them on that straight away as they are of laying age now 🙂
      Claire

      1. Seriously, layers pellets? Natural food is so much better and healthy, and it’s not hard. Layers pellets is like Mac Donald for us, processed industrial food. Here I disagree!

  22. My husband says come on girls. They come running and follow him to the chicken house. He gives them a treat and they go right in. We have a red hen that is a loner, that sometimes doesn’t want to go in. so he leaves her out, which scares me but then the next night she is first to go in! We have seven chickens.

  23. I had always imagined / hoped that chickens have personalities, and can love their human owners. Now from reading these comments, I know it’s true! 🙂
    I’ve also been reading about geese and ducks. Amazing that these creatures that are descended from dinosaurs, have a range of real emotions similar or even identical to ours! Cute!

  24. One of my hens was attacked by a raccoon. My dog saved her and killed the raccoon. She was dragging her leg, and I thought it might be paralyzed. I kept her inside for about 10 days. I massaged it daily, and soaked it in warm water for about 3 weeks. She is completely healed now. She has recuperated, and I love her more than ever!

  25. We have just set up one of your coops inside a large fully enclosed vegetable garden which we turned into the run. Looks fantastic, little bit of landscaping, but not much. We picked up our four 6 week old chickens, on Monday they are 2 Isa Browns,1 Australorpe and 1 Leghorn. Spent the week watching them, and trying to get to know them. Need to have them a bit longer before I will be game enough to pick one up. Am so glad we joined this site because there is so
    Much information and comments to read and learn. We are in South Australia but I am sure a chicken is a chicken wherever it may and the help I get from this site will still supply. So Hi to you all. Catsy

  26. I have enjoyed reading all your great helpful advice my girls are funny with there antics.

  27. I loved the story and am sure my chickens have a larger vocabulary then 30 as my hens are always talking to me and sometimes I think they know what I am saying to them. My chickens are free range and love it. I have a variety. Jersey Giant, Buff Orpington, Light, Buff and Dark Brahma, and 1 Buttercup rue. I love my chickens and love to talk about them. Some people have chickens just for the eggs so they miss out on all the entertainment they have to offer. To bad for them.

  28. Chickens are an absolute hoot! They keep us entertained. I like watching them follow my husband when he mows our four acres with his gas push mower. He stirs up bugs and they chase after him to get them. I call them his “groupies.” We have 8 older hens and 2 roos, and 18 younger birds we are keeping separate until they are of laying age. Mostly they are Easter Eggers but we also have a few Brown Leghorns and Buff Orpingtons.

  29. i have chickens and this is so cool and awesome to know!????????????????????????? these are all my alive chickens ?

  30. An Auracauna chicken just appeared in my yard 4 days ago, i watch him covertly w binoculars go to roost in a tree at dusk, and when he comes down in the morning. he hangs out w me on the deck all day, i feed him corn oatmeal and dried worms… and put a large pan of water out so far each day… we are pals! ive picked him up and held him, and he (she) eats from my hand!

    1. It’s an animal, if you want to keep him you have to take care of him seriously. He needs a house. Chickens don’t live in trees, since they lost the faculty of their ancestors to really fly (they do, but not enough to avoid predators).
      If you adopt a cat, you will buy things for him and go to the vet for him, and buy food. If you adopt a chicken, even if he chose your garden, and you didn’t chose him, you have responsabilities (if you don’t want responsabilities, call a shelter or find an animal lover). Don’t let this poor thing sleeping in trees, it’s offering to predator a nice meal. And you feed him terribly by the way. Corn and dried worms are treats, not food. Please, take care of animals with responsability. For a cat, you buy cat food, for chicken you have to feed them like a chicken should eat. Oatmeal is not enough. You don’t save this chicken by doing it, but make his life really short.

  31. We were left in a unique position where we were unfortunately subject to numerous fox attacks – resulting in one of our chickens insisting to come into the kitchen and become broody.
    As we had no Cockeral – i ordered some fertilized eggs on ebay – and placed them with her.
    We were in the unique position to see on a daily basis the changes she underwent – they say a chicken doesnt know if she is hatching fertilized eggs – but she knew – and this was apparent as time went on.
    Closer to the hatching date she left the eggs less and less ( they dont poo in the hatching nest ) so she must have been crossing her legs more and more .
    Obviously as she was in the kitchen – she got well fed and watered !!!!
    When the chicks were born we got to learn the different clucks for diffferent things – ie this is food, dont go too far , your old enough to start exploring !!
    Was an amazing experience ❤️

    1. A fox vs. chicken true story. Family in France had self locking door on coop. Ladies entered coop at bedtime. Fox entered coop. Slam! Door shuts and locks. Chickens attack and kill fox. Chickens live happily ever after (hopefully!)

    2. Chickens usually don’t recognize fertilized eggs, as they can go broody with non fertilized ones. In some cases they make the difference, through, and expel the non fertilized ones, keeping the other ones.
      For your story, in my opinion she rather heard the voices of the chicks in the eggs, they change with time, and it’s obvious that a hen knows when they will hatch. And it’s something that the nature does to be sure that she’ll be attentive when they’ll hatch, so there’s a reason behind this.

      1. Wood shavings can be dangerous, it depends if some chemicals have been used on the wood (if you bought it in a store, there are chemicals…), the size of the particles, and the species of wood (some are toxic when inhalated). for instance pine. The interesting thing about wood shaving it’s that is lower smells and ammonia, but you can do the same with other things, that are safer, like diatomaceous. I read articles on the internet saying that pine is only dangerous for rabbits, that’s a lie. Straw is better for keeping the warmth, but should be kept very clean. It can be dangerous if a chicken eat it, or if you have high moisture levels, it can rot easily or attract insects. The best practice is too have a coop that have both, good ventilation and isolation, and you won’t need extra straw to keep them warm.

        1. Straw will hold chicken mites in it also. Mix a little bit of cedar shavings in with it and you should be good to go.

  32. As of the day before halloween, I had 7 wonderful chickens. 2 ameracoynas, Silver and Stormy, 2 naked neck turkens, Cheetara and Marie, 2 cinnamon queens, Brave and Mrs sticky butt, and one light brahma rooster, named Stormfly. However they were attacked by coyotes and now only Stormy and Stormfly are alive. I have really been struggling to get over my grief, but reading about everybody’s chickens is helping.

    1. It takes time, sorry to hear about your chickens. We lost a silkie this year and I was so heartbroken. But we have her sister (penne) and she is12 years old

    2. Protect your coop. If someone or something attacks my children, it means my coop is not safe enough. Rework it. It’s not a fatality. Chickens can be safe in a well designed environment.

  33. Someone in a chicken forum said that the top chicken assigns a name to their owner that the rest of the chickens also use to refer to them. is this true? if so i think my name might be Bahck!!

  34. my wife and i got 6 Malaysian seroma chickens last august. they are spoiled rotten but we love them all. we built a beautiful coop 8ft by 8ft with 4 windows electricity, metal roof, heaters for this winter and a 10ft by 20ft. run. i just finished building a chicken tractor to be able to give them fresh grass when needed.i wish i could let them free range, but with hawks, coyotes, skunks etc. we are afraid to. but they seem very happy with what they have. love your site , just sent off for your book at amazon.

  35. I miss my best friend. Every day when I came outside or got off the bus, he was there, clucking and dancing around. He was my rooster, Custard. He was the sweetest chicken I have ever encountered in my life. I brought him to school events and he put smiles on many faces. He recently passed away, which shattered me. His passing was completely unexpected and pains me every day. I didn’t realize how badly I needed him until he was gone. appreciate the time you have with the ones you love before they are gone.

  36. Enjoyed all your posts. I had chickens for 15 years. Started when a graduating student saw his hens helping us start the veggy garden.
    He said he could not keep them, did us want them? That’s how we started with 2 NH reds named Chester and (?) Totsie

  37. You love it, you visit it often, but how much do you really know about your local Costco food court?

  38. A neighbor’s chicken has showed up in my yard and apparently likes it here better. When the garage has been open she has gone in there and laid eggs. I have 4. She also scratched my flower bed mulch all over the walkways. We have a lot of backyard chickens and one guy down the street let’s his free-hood (neighborhood). I don’t have anything for her to get out of the weather. I have no idea where to start with her. I do not want to spend a lot of money to have her move on. I would like some ideas as to how to feed and shelter for practically nothing. If she stays I’ll “move her on up to the East Side” and see if I can lure another one down to keep her company(just joking). I’ll get her a bud.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Please, give your chicken to someone who is better with animals than you are. You cannot take care of an animal “for nothing”. It’s criminal. Chickens are living animal, they don’t worth to be considered like you do. Please, give your animal to someone who is able to be loving and fair with him or her. Taking care of children take time and money. They are not objects, they are living beings, like cats, dogs or horses are. You need to feed them, to go to the vet, to buy medicines for them. Or it’s simply criminal.

  39. They do recognize dogs. My neighbors chickens come over the fence everyday, and they know which dogs will kill them, and which dogs are safer to approach. They also know their schedules, and where which dog will be at any given time, as I move them around the yard and house.

  40. Chickens are smart. I have one hen who looks car park from window every day. She will make sounds when she saw people walk in the car park. She also like dogs makes noise when my friends come visit me. She lays egg 5 or 6 times per week since last Nov. She is a great pet.

  41. If you thread a piece of meat through apiece of wire inside a plastic bottle. Hang upside down in your coop and the maggots formed from the meat will fall out. Chickens love it.?????

    1. Never give maggots to chickens, it’s very unhealthy (bacteriae proliferation) and dangerous. Maggots if they are not killed in the beak of children can eat their flesh. No joke, see a vet journal, it’s something that can happend. But even without that, it’s simply full of pathogenic bacteriae. Chickens can eat many insects, like mealworms, crickets, etc, but maggot is really the unhealthy choice here.

  42. I have witnessed one of our (rescue) chickens eat 3!!! Baby chick wrens!! I am so embarrassed by this appalling behaviour!!

    1. It’s a normal behaviour. In the nature, female cats and female mice eat their babies sometimes, and there are reasons for this, it’s not cruel, it’s when the babies can’t survive, it’s a defence against predators. For chickens, it’s the same, in the nature, it’s not cruel, it’s selection and defence of territory. If the chicks have a mother who can defend them, it doesn’t happen. It’s not because it’s something that is a common practice, and not cruel in the wildness, that we should allow it in our coops. We are here to protect and help them. You shouldn’t have mixed adult hens with babies, if they don’t have the protection of their mother.

  43. So many great details about chickens! Ive had my hen for 2 yrs now and she surprises me everyday. Shes smart and playful and even understand human speech like when I yell at her for going to my vegetable garden. I love how she follows me around the backyard and if I leave the patio door open, she follows me inside the house too.
    They are great pets!

  44. We had seven chickens about 9 months old. They do not have a coop so snowhite relocated and got sick and it died, we ate senior, bisha died today while hatching her eggs, two others which we didn’t name mixed up with our neighbour’s chicken and they look exactly the same. Now, our 6 months old(none was named) one got some kinda chicken stroke and one was hit by a car,the remaining 5 are alive

  45. The thing about the pecking order is actually not true. It’s something that people taught a long time ago yet the science still has not been able to prove it exists. They don’t have a leader that is above all of them, but who ever values the specific resource the most is the one that gets it. There is no such thing that one always gets everything first.

    1. @Eini You are really wrong. Open your eyes in a flock and you will see the pecking order in action, there’s a complex hierarchy, and it has been proven by science by the way (read science literature, you will find it), just like complex hierarchy also exist in other kind of animals.

  46. I have a chicken myself she is laying down on my lap I Relized that she follows me everywhere and stomps on me when she’s laying down so I wanted to some research 🙂

  47. I am building my first coop and run and have never raised chickens before. I’m thinking I’ll get 6 bantam hens and no rooster. I want to keep it simple and low maintenance until I see what I’m getting into. I’ve read many bantam breeds are docile and even make nice pets. I figure I’ll get a few small eggs a week and I won’t have to deal with the flock growing in size. Plus I don’t want to annoy my neighbors with a rooster crowing. And I’ve seen the damage a horny rooster can do to a poor hen. Will my small flock of girls be happy and thrive without having a man around the house and not having any chicks?
    Thank you!

  48. Learned a few things with this article about chickens.
    I also learned something today watching my flock. My rooster was calling for one of my duck hens to come get a bug he had found and she came over and ate it which I found both things to be interesting.

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