Every farm has chickens yet very little is actually known about them. Below, we compiled a list of 28 fun and amazing facts about chickens which you can use to get acquainted with this staple farm animal.
1. Chickens were first domesticated for cockfights and not to be used for food.
2. The chicken, Gallus gallus domesticus, is a domestic subspecies of the red junglefowl, which is a member of the pheasant family. The pheasant family is native to Asia and genetic studies have found that the grey junglefowl also contributed to the chicken’s evolution.
3. Chickens are omnivores; they will eat seeds and insects but also larger prey like mice and lizards.
4. Chickens aren’t completely flightless, they can get airborne long enough to make it over a fence or a tree.
5. There are dozens of different chicken breeds, such as the Dutch bantam, the Rhode Island red or the leghorn.
6. A rooster will announce to a flock of chickens that he’s found food with a ticking sound, but the chickens won’t pay attention to him if there’s already food around.
7. There are 25 billion chickens in the world currently, which means that there are more of them than any other bird species.
8. Baby chickens are called chicks.
9. Female chickens are called pullets, until they’re old enough to lay eggs, and then they’re called hens.
10. Male chickens are called roosters, cocks or cockerels, depending on which country you’re in.
11. The small dangly bit beneath a roosters beak is called the “wattle.”
12. Scientists believe that the rooster’s wattle helps him gain a hen’s attention when he’s tidbitting.
13. Roosters perform a little dance called “tidbitting”, where they make sounds and move their head up and down, picking up and dropping bits of food.
14. Researchers have found that female chickens prefer roosters that often perform tidbitting and have larger, brighter combs on top of their heads.
15. The chicken is the first bird that had its genome sequenced. This happened in 2004.
16. A female chicken will mate with many different males, however, if she decided that she doesn’t want a particular rooster’s offspring, she can eject his sperm. This happens most often when the male is lower in the pecking order.
17. Avian influenza is an extremely contagious disease that can make chickens very sick and kill them.
18. Chickens can distinguish between more than 100 faces of their own species.
19. Chickens have a pecking order in which every chickens knows his or her place in the social ladder.
20. Chickens have full color vision.
21. Chickens experience REM, rapid eye movement, sleep. This means that they dream just like we do.
22. Chickens have pain receptors that give them the ability to feel pain and distress.
23. Hens will aggressively defend their young from predators.
24. Chickens have more than 30 different types of vocalizations to distinguish between different threats.
25. Chickens talk to their offspring while their in the womb. A mother hen begins to teach calls to her chicks before they even hatch.
26. The waste made by a chicken in its lifetime can make enough electricity to run a 100 watt bulb for five hours.
27. The record number of eggs laid in one day by one chicken is 7.
28. Scientists believe that chickens were domesticated about 8000 years ago.