10 Fascinating Facts About Chickens

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:

1. Chickens slurp grass like spaghetti.

When living in their natural environment, chickens will spend the day foraging for bugs and slurping down fresh blades of grass.

2. Chickens LOVE dust baths.

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.

3. Chickens have complex communication with specific meanings.

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.

4. Chickens like to play.

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.

5. Chickens talk to their unborn babies.

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.

6. Chickens are a lot more clever than you think.

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.

7. Chickens are technically dinosaurs.

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.

8. Chickens place great importance on building a private nest.

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.

9. Chickens have excellent memories.

They are able to recognize and remember more than 100 different individuals, including humans.

10. Chickens are able to comprehend object permanence.

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

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Siyus Copetallus

Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 months ago

Interesting, I wish we had chickens.

Sheri D.
Sheri D.4 months ago

Thanks for these facts. I didn't know most of them. I wish people would stop eating them!

Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynik5 months ago

Very interesting. I can't understand how people can treat them so terribly(
Thank you for sharing =)

Barbara V.
Barbara V.5 months ago

Isn't that something? To think they want to enjoy life like the rest of us, yet WE allow the factory farms to put them through a miserable existence. I hope the same happens in the end for those who poison the lives of any animal.

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen5 months ago

more chicken wonders. they can "make a dinosaur" with chicken.

Cheryl Brown
Cheryl Brown5 months ago

Very interesting!

As a Bible believer, I have nothing against eating chickens, but cruelty is never justified. (The Bible specifically teaches humane treatment of animals.)

Sherene Lambert
Sherene Lambert5 months ago

this article was very interesting. Thanks for notifying me about chickens

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra Rodda5 months ago

My chickens were a delight. I always talked with them and that is why my children called me "Psycho chicken".
Years later, when I was in my rooms seeing patients, my son came in and gave me a baby chicken and asked me to look after it. He was working at the museum and saw s some male chickens being fed to a crocodile.
The chicken grew into a magnificent red rooster who believed that I was his mother. He taught me a lot. One of the things I learnt is the instinctive vocal language that they have. I can warn a hen or rooster that there is danger from above, say that I have found some food, that I am here and that would it please follow me, that this is very nice and I am blissfully happy and a few other things. All in fowl language.
I was shown that the rooster really, really loved me and missed me when I was away working, but of course, he was a rooster and I had to understand that he was my superior!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams5 months ago