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.

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.

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 wings 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.

Chickens have complex communication with specific meanings

When you spend enough time around chickens, you’ll start to understand their different vocalizations, from calling their youngsters to alerting others of the whereabouts of food.

4. Chickens like to play.

Chickens like to play

When given enough space, chickens will run, jump and even sunbathe. Unfortunately, around 95 percent of chickens raised in the U.S. spend their entire lives in cages no bigger than an iPad.

5. Chickens talk to their unborn babies.

Chickens talk to their unborn babies

In a natural setting, a mother hen will cluck to her chicks before they have even hatched. The chicks will respond by chirping 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 away as soon as they are laid and placed in large incubators.

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

Chickens are a lot more clever than you think

Recent studies have shown that chickens are intelligent animals with many attributes akin to those 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.

Chickens are technically dinosaurs

Chickens evolved from dinosaurs and are the closest living relative to the magnificent T. rex. Research has also proven that they are, in fact, living dinosaurs.

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

Chickens place great importance on building a private nest

Chickens start by scratching a shallow bed in the ground. Then, they carry twigs and leaves on their backs, letting the material slide off before building up the rim of the nest. Chickens will even go without food and water in favor of creating a private nest safe from predators.

9. Chickens have excellent memories.

Chickens have excellent memories

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

10. Chickens can comprehend object permanence.

Chickens can comprehend object permanence

Even when an object has been removed and hidden, chickens are able to comprehend that it still exists. Not many animals have this ability, and neither do young human children.

Photo Credit: Remy Baudouin/Unsplash

1024 comments

Rosa Borisova
Rosa Borisova4 months ago

The horrible truth is that people use, abuse, torture and murder other sentient beings as if are vegetables.... Yet are just like us, deserve, desire, want and have the right to be free and live their own lives. They are not ours to enslave for our own purposes and crippled needs. On the contrary. When we eat, wear and use animal products we create diseases, pollution, deforestation, wild life extinction, hunger and violence. Watch on YouTube: Best speech ever, Europe's dark secret, Forks Over Knives, Animals should be off the menu, Earthlings, Cowspiracy and/or go to: adaptt.org, freefromharm.org, meat-abolition.org, EVOLVE.org to learn more. Please do. Thanks.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner6 months ago

Humanity in general is a psychotic parasite and cancer wherever it shows up.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner6 months ago

Hitler is a saint compared to the monsters that run factory farms, and the USDA is a den of monsters a million times worse than Hitler's SS was.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus10 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hillabout a year ago

Interesting, I wish we had chickens.

Sheri D.
Sheri D.about a year ago

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

Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynikabout a year ago

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

Barbara V.
Barbara V.about a year 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 Prinssenabout a year ago

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

Cheryl Brown
Cheryl Brownabout a year 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.)