Chicken Facts: No They Are Not As Dumb As You May Think

Its all about the chicken facts:

When most people think about chickens, they imagine unintelligent, unfriendly, dirty birds without the capacity for any real kind of intelligent thought. They're wrong.

This "chicken information" is like a lot of other false chicken facts running around. This is just not true for animals that have been raised in humane conditions with attention to their needs.

If you've ever thought chickens were mean, in-affectionate, or just plain dumb, you need to find out more about them. Let's take a look at some real chicken facts that will help you understand more about these incredibly interesting birds.

The vast majority of chickens today
are raised in incredibly overcrowded, unsanitary conditions

Laying hens are generally confined to cages with many other birds, and given about the same amount of space as a letter sized sheet of paper - not enough to actually allow the hen to sit down.

They're raised on wire gratings that allow their droppings to fall through into giant piles below the cages (which produce lots of ammonia and smell) which also hurt their feet.

They aren't handled much beyond infancy, and they have no place to rest or hide from their cage mates. Most of these chickens are killed at a very early age (eighteen months to two years, when egg production drops off) but many die earlier.

Chickens raised for meat don't fare a lot better. They're rarely caged, but they're still in incredibly crowded areas where their waste isn't cleaned up regularly, and they're unable to escape other chickens.

This leads to a lot of pecking and injury, since chickens (much like people) don't do well in extremely large crowds. Like layers, they don't get vet care when injured or sick, and are not handled after they're sexed and separated.

This leads to chickens who are stressed and in physical discomfort or pain all the time, and who view humans primarily as frightening creatures.

It's no wonder they're not friendly or particularly bright, given the conditions they're in. Any animal kept this way would suffer from poor socialization and very little intellectual development - including people.

Chickens Raised In Loving And Caring Homes

On the other hand, pet chickens that are socialized from a very young age and given high quality care can become extremely social animals. They're affectionate with people, rarely peck or scratch humans, and are actually pretty good at solving problems.

This is a fantastic video showing the intelligence of both chickens and pigs.

While chickens aren't really the geniuses of the animal world, they can be every bit as smart as many other small pets, and just as friendly. It all depends on how they're treated and whether or not they're taught that good things can come from humans.

When people only come to throw food or take birds away, there's no reason for the chickens to like them.

When treated well, chickens have stable social groups, a carefully determined "pecking order" of dominant and non-dominant birds, the ability to communicate with one another and recognize the facial features of other chickens, and many other abilities. 

They can tell the time, learn to solve problems (trying to keep them out of the feed can be tricky) and do many more things that people who don't know real chicken facts would say were impossible.

This is just one of the reasons that their treatment in everyday farm situations is intolerable. Chickens just deserve to be treated better than this.

Happier chickens live better lives, produce higher quality eggs, and don't develop disease and injury to the same degree as conventional birds, making good treatment of these animals a smart idea for farmers, as well as a kind one.

We should all consider supporting organizations that fight to make sure that this happens, and avoid supporting cruelty to chickens.

Chickens may not be as cute as kittens or puppies, but they're still intelligent, feeling creatures that deserve good treatment and loving care. Getting all your chicken facts is the first step to making sure your birds are happy and healthy.

Return From Chicken Facts to All About Chickens

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