Aside from dogs and cats, the most common domestic animal to humans worldwide is the chicken. These pretty birds are essential to our stomachs as they are one of the most consumed species in the world. They are bred all over the world for their meat and their eggs. Let’s look at 10 incredible facts about chickens.
1. Chickens Have a Pecking Order
It’s easy to think that chickens just run around without definite order, but this isn’t true. Chickens have a social hierarchy that’s called a pecking order. There is a clear definition of order in terms of dominance in the pecking order. The hierarchy becomes useful when it’s food time or during the mating season.
2. Chickens are the World’s Most Common Birds
Chickens are the most common birds in the world; surprisingly, they outnumber humans. There are over 1600 breeds of chickens worldwide, and these birds can be found on every continent except Antarctica. One would even think the rate at which humans consume chickens should diminish their population, but this is far from reality. At the moment, there are roughly 25.9 billion chickens in the world. If we were to distribute that across the world’s 7 billion population, each person would get approximately four chickens. That’s quite a lot of chickens to go around for everyone.
3. Chickens are Related To Dinosaurs
Chickens have dinosaurs as their ancestor. All birds are believed to descend from a group of two-legged dinosaurs called the theropods. According to scientists, the genes of these dinosaurs are present in bird species today. While all birds share this glorious heritage, the chicken seems to be the bird closest to the dinosaurs. Although the crocodile would have been the more likely answer in people’s minds, it is the chicken who carries on the great heritage of the fiery dinosaurs in today’s world. The similarities abound in their bones, morphology, movement, and even their sounds. It won’t be wrong to call the chickens the modern-day dinosaurs.
4. Chickens are Omnivores
As opposed to the popular belief that chickens are herbivores, they are omnivores. While it’s true that chickens consume a lot of seeds and grains, they also eat insects and can even be daring enough to go after field mice, small snakes, and lizards. Who knows, it might just be the dinosaur on the inside expressing itself.
5. Chickens Have a Language for Communication
If you thought having a language was a sign of civilization, it’s safe to say that chickens are civilized. Chickens have a clear language that involves up to 30 distinct sounds that each have a clear meaning. So next time you hear chickens making sounds, do not interfere as you might be disrupting a serious conversation.
6. Chickens Have a Great Memory
When we think of chickens, smartness is one of the last things that comes to mind. The famous phrase “bird brain” seems to sum up our thoughts about this species and other birds. However, that opinion is not so genuine as chickens have a shockingly retentive memory. They can remember up to a hundred human faces and the faces of other animals. Moreover, they can even remember the faces of chickens in their flock even after being separated for months. For an animal that small, that’s a lot to remember.
7. Chickens Have Better Eyesight than Humans
As much as it sounds wrong, it is true: chickens have better eyesight than humans. They can see more colors than humans as their eyes are fixed on the sides of their head, giving them a more expansive visual field than humans. While humans can only see things within the 180 degrees arc, chickens can see up to 300 degrees without turning their heads. What’s more? Chickens can use each eye independently, which is impossible with humans. They can even see fast movements that are too quick for the human eye. So next time you lose something, get a chicken to help you find it. Haha.
8. Chickens Have a Unique Sleeping Behavior
Chickens display some unique traits when they sleep. First on the list is that chickens dream when sleeping. As incredible as it might sound, these fascinating birds dream like humans. Another unique thing about chickens and sleep is that half of their brain can sleep while half stays awake, meaning that the chicken would sleep while still conscious of its surroundings. The above trait is to help them avoid predator attacks from animals like bobcats, foxes, coyotes, snakes, skunks, opossums, rodents, raccoons, weasels, and birds of prey.
9. Chickens Don’t Have Great Taste Buds
Chickens can’t taste most of what they eat as they do not have great taste buds like humans. There, however, seems to be certain exceptions in flavors like salt. Chickens can taste salt, and most of them avoid eating it. There have been reports of chickens dying from consuming excessive salt, although they are added to their feeds. This means that salt is not suitable for chickens, and by default, salty kitchen waste, salty meats, and salty bakery waste should be limited in their diets.
10. Chicken Eggs are Unique
If you ever thought you knew all there was to know about chicken eggs, this might be a shocker to you. Chickens lay eggs that are not the regular colors you see every day. While it might be normal to see eggs in shades of blue, green, pinkish, cream, and dark, dark brown, it is also possible to see eggs in almost every color of the rainbow.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Pavle Pejic/Shutterstock.com
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