As flock owners, there should be a lot of things you would know about chickens. This may include first-hand discoveries, information read on the internet, or details relayed by a friend. Still, there are tons to know about chickens, especially if someone is new in the flock world. Here are 20 fun facts about chickens.
20 Fun Facts About Chickens
1. Chickens are Omnivores
It may seem like something new to those who do not know. But once you know, you can realize that it has been like that for a long time. They can eat a variety of foods, including grains, insects, and occasionally meat scraps.
2. Chickens Have Good Color Vision
It has been a misconception that chickens are said to have poor vision. In reality, they have even better vision than humans! This is why they also care about how food looks more than any other food quality you give them.
3. Chickens Do Not Sweat
Feathers act like their built-in cooler. Chickens are proven to be more cold-hardy than hot-hardy. When chickens feel hot, they pant rather than sweat.
4. Chickens Outnumber Humans
There are more chickens in the world than humans.
5. Chickens Can Recognize Their Keepers
A cute fact about chickens is that they can know you and recognize you. This is one of the reasons why chickens are very cautious of strangers, and they tend to opt to walk away or avoid any contact with unfamiliar people. On the other hand, they are calm when it’s someone they “know.”
6. Chickens Can Recognize Over 200 Faces
They have a pretty good memory and can identify a lot of things.
7. Chickens Have Dreams When They Sleep Too
They experience rapid eye movement (REM) while they sleep, a phase of slumber that indicates a creature is dreaming.
8. Chickens Have Evolved From the Giants, Dinosaurs Themselves
They are technically descendants of one of the most enormous creatures to have lived on Earth. If you observe them closely, their movements mirror some of their ancestors!
9. Chickens Can Teach Each Other
This is how mothers teach their chicks. Mothers teach their children how to forage, what’s safe to eat and what’s wrong, even where to find food! Chickens also know how to spot the food that’s bad for them.
10. Chicken Pecking Order
Chickens establish a social hierarchy known as the ‘pecking order,’ which determines their social standing and interactions within the flock. They have their unique way of establishing these roles and ranks.
For example, a hen can identify her place in the pecking order based on the behavior of other chickens, such as who pecks whom and who avoids being pecked by others.
11. Chickens Are Capable of Empathy
The connection between a hen and their chicks is quite strong, and so when the babies get sad or distressed, hens get distressed too.
12. Chickens Are Good at Taking Care and Nurturing
Chickens are very much caring for their children. They are very good at nurturing their young. Hens also use Tidbitting to teach their babies which food is not suitable and safe to consume. Another thing is that they get along well with the chickens in the same space.
13. Chickens Pick Their Mates
Roosters use the tidbitting action and clucking noises to attract hens and perhaps spend intimate time with them. Chickens are pretty picky and have high standards when it comes to mating.
Hens usually prefer the rooster with the best features. Hens often choose their mates based on various attributes, including the color and size of the rooster’s comb, which can be indicators of health and vigor. In short, chickens value looks too.
14. Egg Nutrition Unaffected by Shell Color
Despite a common belief that the nutritional value of chicken eggs varies based on their shell color, this is a misconception. In fact, the nutritional content of an egg is determined by factors like the hen’s diet and environment, not by the color of the eggshell or the hue of the yolk and the whites.
15. Hens Can Be Very Sexually Active
Thus, they may mate with multiple roosters over some time.
16. Chickens Have Estimated 24 Distinct Noises
These noises are their ways of communicating to alarm other chickens when there’s an alarming situation happening in the air and ground. Roosters even court using a different type of noise, inviting hens and the flock to share food.
17. Chickens Have a Lot of Water in Their Bodies
Their bodies contain at least 15% more water than human bodies do. Considering that chickens are easily dehydrated, they need to drink ample water to survive every day.
18. Two yolks in one egg
There’s more to that! The record for the most egg yolks in a single egg is nine. Amazing.
19. Chickens Are Fast Runners
Depending on the breed, chickens can run at speeds up to about 9 miles per hour, or 1 mile every 6 to 7 minutes.
20. Chickens Have Dust Baths
They like to create shallow pits in the ground for dust baths, which are essential for their feather maintenance. Chickens also have a way of grooming themselves. When you spot chickens running their beaks through their feathers, they preen and take care of their looks.
Chickens are more than the seemingly ordinary creatures raised for food. There are still more things to learn about them. Learning these facts can lead to a greater appreciation of the complexities of chickens. These 20 fun facts bring us closer to understanding and appreciating chickens.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.