Can chickens actually taste what they are eating?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by gtaus, May 24, 2019.

Tags:
  1. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    224
    331
    121
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    I did a quick Google search and found that "Humans have around 10,000 taste buds, while chickens have a maximum of only around 350 taste buds. ... And in fact, the taste buds of a chicken are located so far back on the tongue that they have more or less swallowed something before they have any idea about what it tastes like." (www.mypetchicken.com)

    I see my baby chicks eating sand (as grit) right alongside eating their chick starter. They will also eat bedding, weeds, and other greens I give them. I can't tell if they like something better than the other. So why would you give them something expensive like meal worms? Or even chicken scratch which I hear they also like.

    But can chickens really taste what they are eating. or is a meal worm the same as eating sand to them? Does the bedding taste the same as their chick starter feed to the birds? And how do they know the worm in the other chick's mouth is better than the one in their mouth, so they have to chase each other and fight about it?
     
  2. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    They can taste just fine, not as refined as our taste but they're certainly well enough equipped to have liked and disliked tastes.
    Also you have to consider the entire beak is a complicated sensory organ in itself.:)
     
  3. Biggy

    Biggy In the Brooder

    15
    46
    44
    Feb 27, 2019
    I am pretty sure they can taste. My chickens are so spoiled they are super picky xD. My chickens are legitimately so spoiled they won't eat veggies unless it has salad dressing! My dog will gobble up things that my chickens turn their nose up at. :rolleyes:They stick to worms, cheese, oats, and scratch for treats LOL.
     
  4. Henriettamom919

    Henriettamom919 Songster

    864
    1,531
    227
    May 1, 2019
    North of Seattle
    Chicks aren't as discerning but a lot of that is practice at chickening! Also, meal worms are exciting on an instinct level as chickens spend a good part of their day scratching and foraging for worms and bugs!

    Mine love rice, oats and fruit but hate strawberries! Who knows why :confused:
     
  5. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    Mine like raisins....nothing likes raisins! :D
     
  6. Henriettamom919

    Henriettamom919 Songster

    864
    1,531
    227
    May 1, 2019
    North of Seattle
    I like raisins :oops: :gig
     
  7. OhZark Biddies

    OhZark Biddies Crowing

    1,762
    4,927
    457
    Apr 13, 2018
    s. central Missouri
    My Coop
    Me too.... maybe we should stop liking raisins if we really want to be something... I’m kinda okay with being nothing though ;)
     
  8. Henriettamom919

    Henriettamom919 Songster

    864
    1,531
    227
    May 1, 2019
    North of Seattle
    Oh yeah! All the cool kids like raisins :cool:
     
  9. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    I do too, not that I ever get to eat them anymore. They've been added to the list of foods I don't get to keep if they see them.
    If I want raisins I gotta hide in the house and eat them :D
    .
     
  10. OhZark Biddies

    OhZark Biddies Crowing

    1,762
    4,927
    457
    Apr 13, 2018
    s. central Missouri
    My Coop
    I read chickens ( maybe birds in general... I can’t recall) have a sorta disconnected sense of taste and smell... so things like meal worms might appeal to their smell as much, or more than taste
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: