10 Fun Facts About Chickens

Strange but true facts from Lissa Lucas and Traci Torres, the experts at My Pet Chicken

By Lissa Lucas and Traci Torres

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Fact #1: Chickens make good teachers.

Mother hens can show their babies what is good to eat and what is not. In tests, hens have taught their babies to stay away from color-coded grains that are bad for them.

Chickens make good teachers
Photo: (cc) Jay Bergesen/Flickr
Chickens have prehistoric roots
Photo: (cc) Lehigh Valley, PA/Flickr

Fact #2: Chickens have prehistoric roots.

Chickens are believed to be the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Fact #3: Chickens have their own “language.”

It’s thought that chickens have about 30 distinct vocalizations that they use to communicate with each other. For instance, the warning cry for a predator that is coming on the ground is different from the cry for a predator coming from above.

Chickens have their own language
Chickens sometimes model their behavior on other chickens
Photo: (cc) Aimee Rivers/Flickr

Fact #4: Chickens sometimes model their behavior on other chickens.

The special way a broody hen clucks can encourage other hens to become broody, too.

Fact #5: Chickens begin communicating before they are hatched.

Chicken families begin communicating with each other before the babies have even hatched. The mother hen talks to her eggs (often a purring sound), and the chicks begin peeping back to her from inside their unhatched eggs.

Chickens begin communicating before they are hatched
Photo: (cc) Normanack/Flickr
Chickens are more docile at night
Photo: (cc) Normanack/Flickr

Fact #6: Chickens are more docile at night.

Chickens go into a passive, trancelike state when they sleep at night. Consequently, if you need to catch and handle a chicken that is not very tame, do it at night after the chicken has settled down to roost.

Fact #7: Chickens learn who you are.

Chickens can recognize up to 100 faces!

Chickens learn who you are
Photo: Matthew Benson
Chickens lay different colors of eggs depending on breed
Photo: Matthew Benson

Fact #8: Chickens lay different colors of eggs depending on breed.

Blue eggshell color comes from biliverdin; brown eggshell color comes from protoporphyrins. Pink eggs are the result of small quantities of a rosy brown pigment, while green eggs have both blue and brown pigments.

Fact #9: Chicken eggs are nutritionally about the same regardless of color.

Brown eggshell colors are deposited on the outside of the shell, while blue goes throughout the shell, even on the inside.

Chicken eggs are nutritionally about the same regardless of color
Photo: Christa Neu
Chickens signal when they are ready to lay
Photo: (cc) Lindsay Holmwood/Flickr

Fact #10: Chickens signal when they are ready to lay.

Before a hen begins to lay, her comb will get larger and redder, and she may begin to squat submissively when you reach down to pet her.

 

Excerpted from My Pet Chicken Handbook. Check it out for more tips, secrets, and all the chicken answers you need, plus choose from more than 65 different breed profiles, and taste the healthiest, most delicious eggs you've ever eaten!

My Pet Chicken Handbook

 

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