chicken instinct

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by craftychicken, May 18, 2011.

  1. craftychicken

    craftychicken Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 29, 2010
    San Diego, CA

    why is it that when a hawk flies over, the chickens become alarmed, growl and hide; but when there is a seagull, they don't even notice it? How do they know which birds are a threat and which are not? [​IMG]

    just curious.
  2. i'm not exactly sure, but i think they pay attention to the body, wing, and tail shape of other birds
  3. TinkleTurkey

    TinkleTurkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    mine go BRAAAAAWK when a hawk flies over, but also with crows, ravens, and mockingbirds, and the dog's frisbee. They seem to be rather wary of anything that goes over their head.

    Perhaps yours are just super smart. [​IMG]
  4. Lacey1988

    Lacey1988 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2011
    Chickens can see just as good as we can so they probably can tell [​IMG]....But my old rooster seems to like the sound of his alarm call he does it all the time [​IMG]
  5. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    Quote:The therory is they instinctively know the profile of a raptor. My roo gives the growl at buzzards also.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:The therory is they instinctively know the profile of a raptor. My roo gives the growl at buzzards also.

    Direction shape moves also important. Hawk shape moving backward not as scary. Read that in a paper.

    My birds appear to produce distinctive calls reguarding hawks. Hawks flying past ellicit a different call from one on the attack. Perching hawk in tree causes yet another call. My birds even seem to distinguish between red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks which are almost the same size. Former is a threat, latter is not. During winter months, Coopers Hawks not a threat to my adult game chickens but during growing season they are major threat to chicks. The chickens seem to learn from experience as they see hawks multiple times a day. Reaction also a function of available cover and who has your back. Lone chickens much more scared of hawks and less likely to vocalize warnings. Game rooster will hold his ground when his harem and chicks are around but slip away otherwise.
  7. tinychicky

    tinychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2010
    Hollis, New Hampshire
    you might have a "bad" rooster" lol [​IMG] roosters, the best ones anyway as in the ones the hens like most, make the alarm call for anything, but in different dialects for different things. the more of a threat, the higher pitched and more urgent. if a sparrow flaps overehad, a good rooster will tell his flock, but not make a big fuss about it. these "good" roosters are favorites of the hens because they are the most alert and care the most about protecting thier flock. when something flies overhead, a rooster who is still close enough to his wild ancestors (ie: not genetically modified broiler cocks) to have wild instincts will sound the alarm because in the bird world, in all the animal world in fact, anything above you is a threat. don't you agree that if you were attacked by a bear, it would be better to be on top of it then underneath?

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