Sometimes when enjoying the farm walk here at Lollypop Farm, our visitors don’t realize that chickens, some of our favorite feathered friends, are actually some of the most interesting animals around! They are incredibly intelligent and emotional birds with all sorts of interesting behaviors. Check out our top five surprising facts about chickens!
1. Hens communicate with their chicks while they’re still inside their eggs!
How adorable is that? When chickens lay eggs, the mother hen can actually make noises that chicks still incubating inside of their eggs can hear and respond to. The chicks even make tiny “peeps” back from inside of their eggs! Once grown, chickens utilize a wide range of sounds to communicate with each other.
2. Chickens have a great memory for faces!
It’s true! Chickens have the ability to recognize and remember around 100 different faces (human, and chicken!). If you have backyard chickens and they get excited when they see you or their favorite people, that’s why!
3. Chickens are actually omnivores, not herbivores.
While some people think that chickens eat only plants and grains, they actually eat (and enjoy) a much wider variety of foods! Chickens do indeed eat plants, seeds, and grains, but also bits of dairy or meat products. Kitchen scraps can be used for a supplement to their feed, which makes for an environmentally-friendly way to handle leftover food waste. Chickens also like to peck around in the dirt and find bugs to eat, for example, beetles, larvae, slugs, and grasshoppers.
4. Some research suggests that chickens are just as clever as human toddlers.
Hens have exhibited mathematical reasoning, object permanence, self-control, and even structural engineering. Chickens also demonstrate empathy and a number of emotional responses!
5. Chickens tend to their eggs carefully.
A hen turns her eggs approximately 50 times a day to keep the embryo from sticking to the side of the shell. Plus, one hen may lay as many as 300 eggs per year! As hens age, the number (and quality) of eggs laid tends to decrease.
Here at Lollypop Farm, we think chickens are pretty interesting creatures! Chickens arrive at the shelter in a number of ways. Sometimes they are surrendered by community members who are unable to care for them. Sometimes we assist with large farm animal hoarding cases and take in large numbers of chickens and roosters as a result. We’ve even had chickens come to Lollypop Farm after being found stray! However it is that they come to us, it’s our mission to make sure that when chickens leave Lollypop Farm, they find happy homes where they will not be used in the agricultural industry as meat. We do promote the keeping of backyard chickens as a fun hobby, and a great way to source fresh eggs! As long as your property is properly zoned, keeping backyard or urban chickens can be a rewarding endeavor!
Did you enjoy learning about chickens? Be sure to visit Lollypop Farm on Saturday, May 11, for our Egg-Stravaganza & Farm Day! We’ll be spending the afternoon celebrating and learning about chickens. Plus, there will be food trucks, music, kids activities, and so much more family fun. Visitors will get to meet feathered friends, learn more about these interesting birds, and explore how to care for your own chickens at home!
Learn more about our Egg-Stravaganza & Farm Day: www.lollypop.org/farmday
Meet chickens and roosters waiting for homes: https://www.lollypop.org/adopt/horses-farm-animals/