I’ve been taking a free online course (through Coursera) about chicken behavior and welfare for the past few weeks. Here are a few fun facts I’ve learned about our feathered friends:
- Chicks start communicating with their mother through peeps before they even hatch out of their shell. The chicks will imprint on their mother in the first 48 hours after hatching.
- Chickens can see ultraviolet light!
- Chickens have a social structure that inspired the term “pecking order” when talking about social rankings in a group. The dominant female of the group actually mates less with the rooster because she is more successful at fending him off than the submissive hens.
Antonio, center, and his queen of the flock Little Girl to his right. He has to fight to ruffle a feather on her back!
- A rooster will try to attract a hen to him by “tidbitting” – he will pick up and drop a piece of food multiple times while clucking to draw her in. I just like the word tidbitting.
- Chickens can recognize about 80 other chicken faces before smiling and nodding awkwardly because they just can’t remember if they’ve met that 81st chicken before.
- Chickens use about 30 different vocalizations to communicate with each other. “Here’s some delicious food” sounds much different than “Help! This pesky human is picking me up again!”
Hopefully you find these little dinosaurs a little more interesting now!