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Do chickens feel love? - Page 2

post #11 of 17

Responding to love aspect of the question, I has an old grey rooster that was born and raised here. Live until he was about five or six. One day I went out to feed and he was in the back of the hen house laying on a bale of straw, more than half of the hens we had at the time, including the hen that hatched and raised him where gathered around him. None of them ate that night and stayed by his side.   I do not know if this has any resemblance too them having emotions, or maybe they where just confused with what to do knowing that the only rooster, and long time flock leader was dying. Another instance I have had was just a couple weeks back. I had a very aggressive Buff Laced Polish Cockerel, he was no good to have around, relentless in attacking. On the other hand I also have this tiny Dutch Rooster who is a really well with the hens, and has never showed aggression towards me, unless of course I pick up a hen and she makes a lot of noise. Besides the point, this rooster does not seem to care when I am making the hens give off distress noises. Most of them calm down once I pick them up. I think that means he trusts me at least some, or likes the food I give him. So anyways back to topic, the Polish Cockerel came flying out of the hen house full speed at me. Then that little Dutch rooster ran right out from behind me and herded that Polish Cockerel away and would not let him any where near me. Maybe Chickens do not feel love, but they do correspond with things a lot better than we give them credit for.

 

I apologize also for not entirely answering your question.  


Edited by skysky43 - 4/5/13 at 3:02pm
post #12 of 17
I don't see any love for me.

I think the chickens are like the seagulls in finding nemo...

Mine mine mine mine...
post #13 of 17

I have only had chickens for 3 years. I have had many. Some were raised as hatchlings others were obtained full grown. What I did notice is that some are friendlier than others. I don't know if I would call it love, perhaps they feel trusting and protected. There is always 1 or two that will jump on your lap and allow to be petted. When I go to the pen and just sit a while, many will rest close by, like they feel contentment. Chickens have individual personalities. I respect them as what they are. Animals that depend on you for their well being and survival. I would never subject an unwilling chicken to become a lap pet. I think I have loved a few and will always remember them. I used to name my chickens, now I don't do that anymore. Bad things happen to chickens at times and naming them make a loss more personal. I do right by them. They are not neglected, frightened or abused. I spoil them and they never go hungry. I know for sure that I will always have chickens as long as I am able to care for them.

So, what is love? Is it something you have for them or is it what you get from the satisfaction of seeing happy, healthy, funny pets?   :idunno:cd

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by davi View Post
 

Sorry if this was in the wrong category. I really find a category for this. Anyway, you know everyone loves thier chickens and think thier eggs are delicious, well THEY ARE, so yeah... But everybody must've gotten to a point wondering if thier chickens love them back.We all love our chickens but yeah, I'm usually thinking they just love me for treats. I could be wrong though. So here are my questions:

 

1. Can chickens feel comfort when you pet them?

 

2. Do chickens actually respond back to us humans?

 

3. Do our chickens love us back?

 

Please try to answer them all.D.gif


1) Animals can be conditioned to a stimulus.  Chickens are no different.  If they have no poor experiences when you pet them, if these interactions are consistently safe for the birds, their instinct for self-preservation will assign that stimulus as "good."  Does it comfort or de-stress in the human sense?  No.  They don't perceive cognitive stress. They don't have bills to pay or parents to please.  Am I fed, watered, safe, healthy?  If yes, no stress, and a comfortable bird. 

2) All animals are social in some way.  Dogs can know 100 words.  Cats can know 20.  Horses respond to verbal cues.  This is conditioning.  Not reasoning.  You can explain your audit to your chicken, and your soothing tone may make the chicken relax, and you can interpret that the bird is trying to calm you.  It's not happening, but you can interpret it that way.  Chickens can be conditioned to a stimulus to react a certain way.  Domesticated animals of all species do this. 

3) Amorous love?  No.  Do our birds/goats/dogs/cats/horses/goldfish look at humans as part of their environment that provides shelter, feed, water, and companionship as part of their social order? Sometimes.  That's what conditioning is all about.  Humans shoehorning their way into the pecking order of another species.  Animal husbandry is all about caring for animals.  Animals understand the concept of being cared for at an instinctual level.  Wake up late and not feed the birds as early as they are used to?  The squawking isn't anger...it's hunger.  They are used to not being hungry.  Your actions made them hungry.  They are making noise because of this discomfort. 

Anthropomorphism is a dangerous game.  One can be capable of caring for animals very deeply without assigning humanity to non-human beings.

Don't be a helicopter parent to kids, pets, or livestock.
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Don't be a helicopter parent to kids, pets, or livestock.
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post #15 of 17

I agree. Too many people assign emotional "love" to animals as if they are human. They are just animals. Animals simply react to their environment.

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by davi View Post
 

Sorry if this was in the wrong category. I really find a category for this. Anyway, you know everyone loves thier chickens and think thier eggs are delicious, well THEY ARE, so yeah... But everybody must've gotten to a point wondering if thier chickens love them back.We all love our chickens but yeah, I'm usually thinking they just love me for treats. I could be wrong though. So here are my questions:

 

1. Can chickens feel comfort when you pet them?

 

2. Do chickens actually respond back to us humans?

 

3. Do our chickens love us back?

 

Please try to answer them all.D.gif

 

1. If they are used to that attention and feel safe, then yes, I believe they do. If they've never had that positive attention, it's probably not very comforting for them. Like another poster said, it's probably conditioning. All of mine that I've raised from chicks have been handled in the same way. Some seem to really love sitting on my lap and getting their wattles rubbed and their necks and backs scratched and falling asleep. Some couldn't care less. They could do without it. Foraging is more fun to them. So individual personality plays a role too. But to answer your question, yes, I believe they can feel comfort when you pet them.

 

2. I absolutely think they do. It might be another case of conditioning where they just associate this weird sound you make (saying their name) with them. That said, I have a couple of hens that seem to really know I'm talking to them individually when I say their names.I can ask Georgie if she's going to be loud and sing the egg song all day like she likes to do and she will look up at me and start singing and will keep doing it until I walk away. Is she responding to me? Maybe. She's quite the character so it's possible. Lazy Loretta "answers" me when I talk to her. Most of the flock just ignores me when I talk to them unless I have meal worms in my pocket. I had one little pullet that seemed especially observant and responsive. She sprained her leg and was in the chicken hospital for a few weeks so she got extra attention and I'm sure that made a difference. She was one that would fall asleep on my lap and want to stay there all day. She made these little cooing noises that I called her song bird noises and I would ask her to make her noises so my hubby or kids could hear how cute she sounded and she would make the noises for a minute and then quit. Anytime I would ask her, she responded. Conditioned? Possibly. Also with her, when I would want to feel of her legs or do some PT with her, I'd tell her, "I'm gonna lay you on your back and look at your legs. Be a good girl. I won't hurt you." And the little snot would lay there on her back like a little statue and not try to get away. Conditioned? Possibly. Trusting? Very. In short, yes, I believe they respond to us.

 

3. Do they love us back? I really don't know that I'd call it love but when they trust us and feel safe and happy with us, we are part of their flock. And not just the giant featherless chicken "god" that makes the rules and gives the food. Obviously, we're that too. Hens can make friends with other hens. If they can have other hen friends, surely that's some form of what we call love, right? They seem to love their chicks. Who really knows if they can feel what we consider love but I say if you think they do, then they do. If you feel like your chickens feel love for you, I see no harm in that unless you can't make the hard decisions because of it. If the time comes that your loving chicken needs to be put down (due to old age, injury, etc.), can you set aside that notion and do the right thing? Or is that going to prevent you from making that call and allowing the chicken to suffer needlessly? To answer your question, I don't think it's the same thing that we call love but there does seem to be something there and if you can believe it without that belief causing harm to the bird, then more power to you. 

~A duck was about to cross the road when a chicken looked at him and said 'Don't do it man! You'll never hear the end of it!"~

Instagram.com/M_BAR_K

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~A duck was about to cross the road when a chicken looked at him and said 'Don't do it man! You'll never hear the end of it!"~

Instagram.com/M_BAR_K

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post #17 of 17

@keiferlou you expressed my thoughts on the subject very well.

Calling all home bakers...come join us! post #1

Debby

 

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Calling all home bakers...come join us! post #1

Debby

 

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