Chickens are some of the most misunderstood animals on the planet, yet they’re also some of the most loveable animals. These facts about chickens will prove it.
Chickens are sentient beings, meaning they experience a wide range of emotions and can feel pain.
There are more chickens on the planet than any other land animal, and they’re not deserving of the painful lives they endure in the factory farming system. Explore these 11 following facts about chickens to learn a little bit more about them and what you can do to support better chicken welfare.
1. Chickens can recognize up to 100 faces
Chickens don’t just recognize other chickens, either. These faces include those of humans! Chickens even remember positive or negative experiences with the faces they recognize and pass that information on to members of their flocks.
2. Chickens dream
Similar to dogs and cats who may act like they’re chasing something while asleep, chickens also have very vivid dreams! Chickens experience rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, but researchers don’t yet know what they dream about. We can only imagine!
3. Chickens pass down information
It’s not just your grandparents or parents who can show you the shortcuts to life—such as the best way to cook spinach or the best cleaning methods. Chickens pass down knowledge from generation to generation if given the chance to do so.
4. Chickens chirp to their eggs
One of the sweetest facts about chickens you’ll ever hear is that hens chirp to their babies while they’re in the eggs, and the chicks chirp back! They also make around 30 different calls to communicate with each other, expressing everything from “thanks for the food!” to “there’s a predator in the coop!”
5. Chickens are hierarchical
If you’ve heard the term “pecking order” in your life, that comes from the flock structure of chickens. These pecking orders are extremely complex social structures and flock members know exactly where they fit in.
6. Chickens use past experiences to make decisions
Like how we’ve learned not to touch a hot stove or why we need to wear sunscreen, chickens use past experiences to inform their decisions. They’ll remember enjoying certain foods or what brought danger to their flock and make decisions based on those experiences.
7. Chickens empathize with their peers
Chickens are the epitome of empaths. Empathy is one of the most interesting facts about chickens. If a peer is hurt, stressed, or even happy, other chickens will not only understand, but share those feelings.
8. Chickens have great memories
They can solve puzzles by pecking at the pieces with their beaks to let their human helpers know which ones go where. Chickens have also been caught on tape finding treats hidden under cups.
9. Chickens purr like cats!
When a chicken is happy, cozy, and safe, they will close their eyes and purr softly. This is one of the funnier chicken facts—you’ll just have to trust us on this one.
10. Chickens suffer immensely on factory farms
Chickens are the most intensely farmed land animals on the planet. With billions (yes with a “b”) of chickens spanning the globe, they often suffer in tight, filthy factory farms for egg and meat production. Learn more about factory farming and what you can do to improve chicken welfare.
11. Chickens are deserving of good lives
Chickens are sentient beings, meaning they experience a wide range of emotions and can feel pain. Each chicken on a factory farm has a distinct personality and desires, but factory farms deny everything that comes naturally to these intelligent and sensitive animals. Every chicken deserves a good life where they can raise their babies and perform other natural behaviors like foraging for food, dust-bathing, and roaming freely.
There’s more to chickens than meets the eye, and these 11 interesting facts about chickens prove it. When you stand with World Animal Protection, you can help us improve chicken welfare. You can also affect change in the factory farming industry by eating less chicken yourself and signing up for our Meating Halfway journey to reduce your meat consumption.