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10 Fascinating Facts About Chickens

10 Fascinating Facts About Chickens
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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.

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Top Photo Credit: petercooperuk

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717 comments

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5:06AM PST on Dec 23, 2014

Lynda H.: "The PCRM is PeTA in white coats, Dorothy." That's a compliment to PCRM no matter what color coats they wear! Two wonderful organizations working hard to lift society out of the dark place of using and abusing animals.

12:49PM PST on Dec 21, 2014

The final truth is this.. Something must die in order for all of us to continue.. That is a fact of nature. And while I appreciate that for many vegans you would like to save every last animal. The fact is that chickens, in specific, have been bred and raised to provide food for the table. If you do not like that fact.. Makes no difference to me.

I am not vegan. My diet is more omnivorous than yours.

It does not mean anything past that.

12:11PM PST on Dec 21, 2014

Obesity is a leading cause of diabetes and heart disease. I have yet to meet a fat vegan. As for vegetarians being depressed -- this is true ONLY if they are junk-food vegetarians rather than balanced, whole-food vegetarians. The same is true for non-vegetarians who consume a great deal of processed junk. And last I checked, a psychiatrist (like Dr. B. from PCRM) IS a doctor! Their training includes courses in the biological sciences and nutrition. One fact that cannot be disputed, my pet rooster, Sir Buddy, would prefer a dirt bath in the sunshine rather than having his head lopped off and his remains cooked!

12:02PM PST on Dec 21, 2014

So we should continue to genetically mutilate and domesticate species for our own pleasure? Sorry, that is a completely inane line of argumentation, Nikki D. Most chickens alive today are an abomination of nature and should not exist. Those chickens live extremely short lives, though.

Just pray you are never reincarnated into a male "laying" chicken.

2:38PM PST on Dec 17, 2014

Let's be realistic here.
If we all became vegetarians, chickens would still be kept to produce eggs for food. But if we all became vegan, the world chicken population would become redundant and would either be culled or, in the main, left to die from neglect. There would not be the resources to maintain the vast numbers of all "crop" animals and birds, so they would diminish.
Not cruelty just necessity.

1:21AM PST on Dec 17, 2014

wow such stupid comments after an article about how smart chickens are.

Vegan New World Order. That is absolutely hilarious. What, less than one percent of the population are now the puppet masters? Fascinating stuff! The new Koch Bros.. ....wait, are the Koch Bros. =gasp= vegan?!

Unfortunately, there is a large, deep body of research out there that clearly shows a complete restriction of cholesterol and decrease in saturated fat intake can have substantial short term and long term effect on blood pressure, cholesterol count, diabetes and general cardiovascular health. When someone is a prime candidate for myocardial infarction, the doctor's first instruction will be to completely or drastically cut one's cholesterol intake. This is not vegan propaganda; this is science, regardless of one's own personal feelings on the subject. A change of diet is often prescribed for many ills, I don't see why this is part of a 'vegan agenda'.

Well, regardless of propaganda, the chickens I have talked to all agree: if you have to eat meat, eat insects. They're full of protein, low fat, eco-happy, wrapped in edible packaging and soooo much less messy than bloody mammals. Crunch, crunch!

8:29AM PST on Dec 14, 2014

@ Dorothy M. @ 11:07am PST on Dec 11, 2014
Keep it real, Gerald L. PCRM, the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, works to stop ridiculously unnecessary and torturous testing on animals. They are a common sense group of doctors who tell the truth: that diabetes and heart disease can be reversed by adopting a vegan diet,

Dorothy, TO REVERSE DIABETES it DOES NOOOOOT have to be a vegan DIEt!!!! That is misinformation and VEGA spin-doctoring. Interesting that Dr. Barnard is a psychiatrist. I guess he wants to keep a high case load.

Vegetarians More Likely to Suffer From a Mental Disorder, Study Finds
healthyeatingharbor.com/vegetarians-more-likely-suffer-mental-disorder‎
12 Nov 2014 ... Articles vaguely (or not at all) connected to healthy eating. And still ... Increased prevalence of mental disorders in vegetarians. What these ...

Irrational, instilled fears and guilt complexes make for emotional trauma. The verbal abuse, attacks, threats, and sanctioned terrorism against omnivores and farm, CAFOperations, Feedlot operators, Livestock Haulers eg. Oakland Bombings, are all indicative of individuals being primed for the Vegan New World Order. Heres some more propaganda! Check their Archives.

14 Cattle Trucks Burned by Activists at Harris Ranch in Coalinga ...
www.democraticunderground.com/1002145329‎
at about 3:40 am on sunday, january 8th, 14 cattle trucks caught fire at the ..... a gun in some random direction, or setting off a bomb wit

4:24PM PST on Dec 11, 2014

The PCRM are PeTA in white coats, Dorothy. Very few are doctors, and pres Barnard is a psychiatrist pretending to be a nutritionist. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that the vegan diet will cure diabetes and heart disease, but PeTA et al keep saying it and presenting ‘studies’ which are debunked in minutes. They keep saying it so people will believe it, which is a manipulative and dishonest tactic. Please look at objective studies, not those that are trying to prove a bias.

12:01PM PST on Dec 11, 2014

Dorothy M.
Louise's Country Closet
http://www.louisescountrycloset.com/hen-saddles/

Also a little FYI.. I would be careful about overgeneralizing (implying or otherwise). That a vegan diet reverses diabetes and heart disease for every one. For some yes.. Every one? Doubtful..

11:07AM PST on Dec 11, 2014

Keep it real, Gerald L. PCRM, the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, works to stop ridiculously unnecessary and torturous testing on animals. They are a common sense group of doctors who tell the truth: that diabetes and heart disease can be reversed by adopting a vegan diet, quitting smoking and moderately exercising. Their president has been featured on the PBS many times discussing nutrition and health. He is slim and healthy and just wants others to enjoy the simple happiness of health. Hardly a sinister character.

Yes, a rooster can harm a hen when mating, usually accidentally (that is why their beaks are sometimes trimmed and the spurs removed from the backs of their ankles. And hens can peck a rooster unmercifully (the term "henpecked" probably originated here). So what? Sir Buddy the Rooster is my sweet, dear friend, and I love him. Why kill him for "food" when I can eat noodles with spaghetti sauce and lovely green salads and so forth and wear the same pant size in my fiftes as I wore in high school?

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