Originally Posted by davi
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.
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.