21 Fun Facts about Chickens
Lest you underestimate the humble chicken, here are some of the many things that you may not know about these extraordinary creatures! Chicken feeders, links to dinosaurs and the ability to vocalise, it seems the humble chicken is a surprising creature.
From Chicken Feeders to Tyrannosaurs
- Chickens are thought to be the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex
- Chickens can communicate with each other and are capable of as many as 30 different vocalisations. These include sounds to warn of the approach of predators and expressions of mood. They have different calls for different types of predator in order to help other birds to avoid the specific threat. Mother hens talk to their eggs and the unborn chicks may respond.
- Chicken feeders were used as part of the aircraft used to escape from the chicken farm .
- Hens will defend their young against predators so perhaps we shouldn’t really use the term chicken to describe a coward.
- Chickens will signal when they are about to lay eggs. Their combs will grow larger and redder and they may squat and behave submissively when they are petted.
- Chickens are good parents and can teach their chicks to eat the right food. Research using colour coded chicken food has shown that hens can teach their young to avoid any grains which are bad for them.
- Chickens are able to recognise and commit to memory the faces of up to 100 other chickens and they are also capable of recognising humans.
- Just like people, chickens dream when they sleep and display rapid eye movement (REM).
- Chickens exhibit relatively sophisticated social behaviour. Groups develop a hierarchy with some chickens exerting dominance over others hence the terms hen pecking and pecking order!
- Chickens have sufficient cognitive ability to comprehend that when an object is taken away from them or hidden, it still exists. Young humans do not have this ability.
- Chickens have full colour vision.
- There are more chickens on earth than any other bird.
- Scared of chickens? Your condition is called Alektorophobia.
- Chickens have more bones in their necks than giraffes do.
- Chickens can’t taste sweetness but they can taste saltiness.
- Chicken eggs have been found to contain up to nine yolks.
- The longest flight by a chicken ever recorded lasted 13 seconds.
- There is no nutritional difference between brown eggs and white eggs. White chickens with white ear lobes lay white eggs and brown chickens with red ear lobes lay brown eggs. The brown chickens are generally larger and so require more feed and they can lay larger eggs. This is one reason why brown eggs are more expensive. The other reason is that people seem to prefer the look of brown eggs and so the demand for them is higher.
- Hens can and do mate with several different cockerels but if they decide that they do not want to produce the young of a particular male they can eject its sperm.
- Cocks perform a dance and this is called tidbitting. Research indicates that females prefer males that dance more often and which have longer and brighter combs on their heads.
- In 2004 the chicken became the first bird to have its genome sequenced.
Chickens are interesting and complex creatures that should never be underestimated. If you keep chickens or are interested in doing so then you will find the perfect chicken feeders, coops, feed and drinkers here at Little Peckers.