Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 Favorite. It was originally published on August 12, 2013. Enjoy.
In the United States alone, more than 8.5 billion chickens are killed every year. That’s 272 every second!
Those numbers are pretty crazy, right? When I actually sat down to figure it all out, I literally couldn’t get my head around all those zeros. Every single one of those chickens is a unique individual that has so much more to offer the world than ending up on someone’s dinner plate.
Don’t believe me? Check out these incredible and fascinating facts about chickens:
When living in their natural environment, chickens will spend the day foraging for bugs and slurping down fresh blades of grass.
It may not sound very appealing to you, but chickens take so much pleasure in digging a shallow pit in the dirt, spreading their winds and rolling around in it. Dust baths help chickens maintain proper feather insulation and ward off parasites. I’ve known chickens that have spent their entire life cooped up in a cage but when given the chance to be free, one of the first things they ever did was give themselves a dust bath.
When you spend enough time around chickens, you’ll start to understand their many different vocalizations, from calling their youngsters to alerting others of the whereabouts of food.
When given enough space, chickens will run, jump, spa and even sunbathe. Unfortunately, around 95% of all chickens raised in the United States spend their entire lives in tiny cages no bigger than the size of an iPad.
In a natural setting, a mother hen will cluck to her chicks before they have even hatched and they will churp back to her and to each other through their shells. In factory farms, a chick will never get to meet his or her parents because they are taken from her as soon as they are laid and placed in large incubators.
Recent studies have shown that chickens are intelligent animals with many attributes akin to that of primates. They are able to solve complex problems, understand cause and effect, pass on knowledge, demonstrate self control and worry about the future.
Research has proven that not only have chickens evolved from dinosaurs and are the closest living relative to the magnificent T. rex, they are in fact living dinosaurs.
They start by scratching a shallow bed in the ground, then carry twigs and leaves to their nest on their backs where they let the material slide off and build up around the rim. They will even go without food and water in favor of creating a private nest safe from predators.
They are able to recognize and remember more than 100 different individuals, including humans.
Even when an object is taken away from them and hidden, chickens are able to comprehend that it still exists. Not many animals have the ability to do this, and neither do young human children.
Top Photo Credit: petercooperuk