Did You Know: Chickens

Its sad to think that people associate Chickens as merely food products with us being at the top of the food chain. Here are some facts about these undervalued animals to help others understand how these sentient beings are more than just food on a plate.

Did you know that……

  • In their natural environment Chickens live together as a flock. They have a communal approach to the incubation of eggs and raising of young.
  • Chickens are good mothers In Ancient Rome  the term “You were raised by a hen”, was considered a compliment.
  • Chickens are able to communicate with their mother whilst still in the egg and she with them. They can hear their mother’s vocalisations and understand them after they are born.
  • Chickens are sociable animals ,they form firm friendships preferring the company of chickens they know whilst avoiding those they do not.
  • The rooster is a real gentleman so to speak and when he finds something good to eat he often calls his hens to eat first.
  • Chickens can distinguish among more than 100 faces of members of their species – who knew that their memories rival those of elephants?
  • Chickens have full-colour vision, just like we do.
  • Chickens communicate with more than 24 vocalisations, each with a distinct meaning, including warning their friends about different types of predators or letting their mothers know whether they’re comfortable.
  • Chickens have pain receptors, enabling them to feel pain and distress. Just imagine their agony, then, when they endure mutilations such as having the ends of their sensitive beaks cut off with a red-hot blade – with no painkillers.
  • Hens defend their young from predators.
  • Chickens love to play and will run, jump and sunbathe when given the chance – yet billions of them spend their entire lives in cramped sheds with less floor space than an A4 piece of paper.
  • Believe it or not, chickens dream just like we do. They experience REM (rapid eye movement) during sleep, indicating that their minds may be wandering far from the four walls of the factory farms where they are imprisoned.
  • Wild chickens lay only approximately 10 to 15 eggs a year during breeding season. The hens who are bred by the egg industry to produce eggs every single day often suffer from painful reproductive disorders and become exhausted after just a few years.
  • Research suggests that chickens are cleverer than toddlers. Hens have exhibited mathematical reasoning, self-control and even structural engineering.
  • Studies show that chickens survive a predator attack 90 per cent of the time while living in their natural environment.
  • Roosters will attempt to woo hens by performing a little dance, called “tidbitting”, involving moving their heads up and down and making a certain type of call. Female hens are also thought to be especially attracted to roosters who have a large wattle!
  • Chickens display object permanence – an understanding that when an object is hidden, it still exists. Even young children don’t have this ability.
  • They can navigate using the sun, which helps them find food and water and even know what time it is. Many chickens raised for meat or eggs, however, will never even see the sun from their dark, windowless sheds.
  • Chickens love dust baths and become extremely frustrated in factory farms when they aren’t able to clean themselves this way. The bathing helps to ward off parasites as well as maintaining feather insulation.
  • Wild chickens survive for five to 11 years in their natural environment. Chickens raised for meat are often slaughtered when they’re just 41 days old – for “free-range” birds, this period increases to just 56 days old. Male chicks born into the egg industry are routinely killed as soon as they’re born.

Sadly, these intelligent, sensitive birds are subject to horrific conditions before they are slaughtered for food. In one abattoir alone, up to 12,000 birds can be killed per hour, and that doesn’t even account for all the hens suffering in the egg industry. Please stand up for these insightful animals! Click here for 100 quick vegan tips to help you transition as easy as possible.