Until you have actually known a chicken, it’s hard to imagine that an animal so often portrayed as simple-minded and cowardly can actually have a wide spectrum of emotions and is actually much smarter than the average person gives them credit for. They are nurturing, social beings, each having their own unique personality. They can feel, express and understand pain, comfort, sorrow, contentment, among many other emotions many humans assume that they cannot. Chickens are amazing animals.
Chickens have a deep-rooted drive to care for and nurture their young. Mother hens are very attached to their babies and have been known to defend their chicks to the death. Their mothering instinct is so strong that they will even steal fertilized eggs from other chickens and raise them as their own.
Chickens are social in nature. Within each chicken community there exists what is called a “pecking order”. A pecking order is a system of social hierarchy in which the more dominant of a group of animals (the alpha male or alpha female) will rise to the top, while the more submissive of the group will sink to the bottom. In chickens, this means the dominant rooster in the group. Animals at the top of a pecking order will have the privilege of eating their food before the others, their choice in the best nest location, as well as the best choice of mates. Pecking orders are not unique to just chickens or even to just birds – in fact we humans follow our own version of a pecking order. Chickens are able to recognize each other and tell each other apart, as well as remember each individual chicken’s position in the pecking order. Chickens can form close friendships with other chickens as well as other types of animals and when separated are able to feel great sorrow and longing.
Chickens are beautiful animals that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and temperaments. Their coloration can vary from solid white or black to a rainbow of colors and textures. There are even people who enter their chickens into contests as show-chickens – like show-dogs. Humans may be attracted to a certain coloration or pattern in a chickens feathers, but the main thing that chickens find attractive is the color RED. Red is their absolute favorite color. That is why many types of chicken have red faces – because to them, a bright red face is sexy. So if you ever meet a chicken make sure you wear something red and they’ll probably want to hang around you a little more.
Chickens are much smarter than people believe. They actually have different calls to alert their flock to different predators. If a flock of hens doesn’t have a rooster, the most dominant hen will assume the role of the rooster. She will stop laying eggs and will become the chief protector of her flock. Chickens also experience REM sleep, which means that they experience dreams.
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this heart-warming video of four baby chicks hatching out of their eggs.
Remember, if you truly love animals, you won’t eat them.