Chicken Behavior

This section covers chicken behavior.

  1. Behavior Modifications for Aggressive Roosters

    If you ordered eggs or purchased un-sexed chicks this spring, now is about the time you may be realizing that you have a rooster on your hands. What to do with that bird is up to you; he can be kept as a part of the flock or found a home, which is easier said than done. If you choose to keep a rooster, it is possible that he might become aggressive upon reaching sexual maturity. This is not only at times a hassle to deal with, but can also be dangerous as his sharp spurs grow out. If you...
  2. Chicken Socialization

    It is important to take the time to socialize young chicks so they become good citizens. Having animals that are well-socialized means that if you have visitors, it will be safe for them to move about your yard and property without worry that a chicken might come after them or cause a ruckus. Socialization is also useful when it comes to providing care; if a socialized chicken were to become injured, that bird would be much easier for you to collect and treat than a bird that is not...
  3. Got Swimming Chickens?

    When you think of swimming animals, something graceful probably comes to mind. Perhaps it is a swan gliding gracefully across a still lake or maybe even a dog paddling its way through a swimming pool. Whatever type of vision you get, it is probably not very likely that the image of a chicken swimming flashes through your head. The debate over whether or not chickens can swim seems to go back quite a while with arguments on both sides of the fence. While some have posed many arguments have...
  4. Discouraging an Egg Eater

    Even though it may seem unlikely, there are some chickens who will take to eating eggs. Upon discovering how delicious and nutritious eggs are, stopping an egg-eater can be rather difficult. Worse yet is that this is a behavior that catches on and can spread amongst the birds in your flock. In some cases culling is recommended, but that is far from being your only option. To get to the bottom of why eggs are being eaten, some homework may be necessary. There are several reasons that chickens...
  5. An Egg Has Been Laid & We Shall Sing!

    Have you ever noticed that your hens seem to relish in the laying of an egg? It is almost as if they beam with pride having done so, celebrating their fabulous creation. Part of this sense of accomplishment includes breaking out in conversation and sharing the news of an egg laid with anyone in the world who will listen, be it willingly or not. If you own chickens, you are probably all too familiar with such morning egg announcements. Sometimes they are truly music to our ears and at other...
  6. Options for Extra Roosters

    If you've ever attempted to sex a chicken, you probably understand how difficult it can be. Regardless of the method you try, it takes a really keen eye to be able to tell the difference amongst cockerels and pullets. Even if you buy from a breeder, there is the possibility that they, too, will sometimes make a mistake. Best intentions aside, sexing chicks is tough, and sometimes you wind up with a cockerel when there is only room in your coop for pullets. Then what? Since having more than...
  7. Encouraging Proper Locations for Egg Laying

    When we were kids, many of us probably enjoyed scavenger hunts. Taking direction from clues to guide us to the prize at the end was wildly entertaining to our young minds and we had great fun back then. Now that we are getting older, however, scavenger hunts are not the same good times they once were. Especially high on the 'not fun' list are scavenger hunts for eggs laid by our very own chickens. A while back we had a Japanese Bantam go missing. We thought she died, but a few weeks later,...
  8. The Intelligence Level of a Chicken

    Have you ever noticed that your chickens seem to be watching and learning from not only one another but also from events taking place around the yard, up to and including what you may be doing? Do you watch your chickens seemingly calculate a way to perform different tasks? Do they respond to stimulus in an organized, logical way that makes sense even to you? The answer to these questions are probably yes, and the reason for that is because chickens very well may be the smartest animal in...
  9. Aggressive Rooster Handling

    A few years back an adult rooster came to live on the farm. He was purchased from a flea market mostly out of pity because he had a healed leg injury that resulted in a limp. It did not seem to affect him too terribly much; he still got around fine, albeit a little bit slower than the rest of the flock, and his gait had a hitch to it that gave his movement a sort of lumbering quality. The plan was to give him a place to live out his days ruling the roost, and he did just that. He also...
  10. Dust Bathing

    When it comes to chicken bathing, they do not rely on Calgon to take them away. Instead, their preferred method of bathing is to wallow in loose dirt. This is known as a dust bath and is the way chickens keep themselves clean and free of parasites such as lice and mites. By coating their skin and feathers in dust, chickens make their bodies less favorable places for parasites to live and feed. Dust bathing is a practice that should be encouraged, and you can do this by creating an area for...
  11. The Tale of a Downtown Rooster

    A couple years ago in the sleepy town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, a band of roosters roamed the streets. Their names were different, depending on who you asked, but the general consensus was that they were named Malcom, Randy, and Carl, who was the most revered of the bunch. Malcom (AKA The General) was a Barred Rock while Randy and Carl were both Rhode Island Reds. Carl, being the most friendly and sociable of the bunch was dubbed, \"Carl the Downtown Rooster,\" and even had his own...
  12. Preventing Chicken Boredom

    It is winter. It is cold. There is snow on the ground in much of the United States. People are trapped inside and bored out of their minds, going more and more stir crazy with each (frozen) passing day. If we are experiencing this, then how are our chickens feeling? With many of them being restricted to their coops and unable to peck around outside, surely they, too, are feeling restless. What do we humans do when we are restless? We find something to occupy our time such as a book or a...
  13. Rose-Colored Chicken Glasses

    Many moons ago it was thought that chickens incorrectly needed to be outfitted with rose-colored glasses. The reason for this was to prevent chicken cannibalism, as the sight of blood on a chicken caused a violent, aggressive reaction in other chickens who saw that blood. In response to seeing blood, other chickens would peck at the bleeding chicken, often until dead, which caused a large casualty rate amongst flocks. Because of this, farmers sought to prevent chickens from being able to see...
  14. Introducing & Socializing Chickens

    Like many other species of animals that roam this earth, chickens have a certain order amongst them that determines who is in charge, who is accepted, and who is not accepted. This 'pecking order' is what governs behavior of one chicken towards another or a several others. Because of this, introducing new chickens to your flock requires diligence and can be a little tricky at times. When it comes time to introduce chicks to your flock, be prepared for unfavorable reactions from established...
  15. Therapy Chickens

    At some point in our lives, we have all seen a service animal. While typically these animals are dogs, the service animal field is non-descriminate and accepting applications from other species. This has led to miniature horses, cats, monkeys, and even chickens stepping up to fill the need for emotional comfort animals, animals that people with disabilities have every right to have. Take, for instance, the case of a 3-year-old autistic boy named J.J. Hart. The City Council in DeBary, FL,...
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