Behavior: "Play?"

GrannyHeeney

Songster
Apr 18, 2018
588
1,644
247
Upstate SC
The OEGB roo I rescued in July has really come around. He still doesn't like to be picked up but will have a conniption fit if he doesn't get his hour of pre-bedtime, in-front-of-the-t.v. cuddles--he'll "flap and flee" but settles right in when I sit down with him...he will also abandon me for the back of the couch if the neck scratchies stop. ;) Because of the initial flap-and-flee, Hubby thought it may all be against his will until he noticed him rooting to get up under my chin (awwww LOL).

Loves us, wants to be planted in the middle of us during weekend football/couch time, would rather eat out of a hand even it's the same snack in his food tray...so he's completely social. The last week or so, he's been exhibiting some pecking behavior. Basically, if someone points a finger at him, he'll poke back! These are just gentle little pops, no dilophosaurus neck feather action, not painful at all, and if I do it from the other end of the couch, he'll mosey on over and poke me. After these little sessions, he immediately returns to other stuff--grooming, eating, drinking (pooping LOL), so he doesn't seem stressed.

Now, I've experienced full-on rooster attacks from a full-sized feller with beak-twisting and skin-ripping (and have the scars to prove it. RIP, Leroy :mad:), and I've read that a human pointing can be seen as aggression by a roo. Could this possibly be "play" to him? Do chickens have the capacity for that? The big girls outside certainly don't "play," as a human would see it. :idunno
 

Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
2,345
4,968
286
Central Texas
That does sound like play, or he's using it as a gesture of affection. He might be returning something he's seen in you and thinks is affectionate in humans. It certainly doesn't sound aggressive.
Chickens are definitely capable of play. Most vertebrates are, including some fish.
 

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