chicken memory question:)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pipthepeep, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This may be one of the strangest questions ever asked...I have been out of town for a month due to a family emergency, and I want to know if anyone thinks my little rooster will remember me when I get back. He is imprinted on me and I, oddly enough, I feel like I have abandoned my child or something...If he is truly imprinted on me, should I be concerned? I am worried that when I get back, if he does not recognize me anymore, he will treat me like a normal person and attack me! I cannot believe I am so attached to this darn chicken that I am worried about this....[​IMG]
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think you can say for sure. You'll just have to watch and see how he reacts to you.

    I've heard that when you take a hen out of the flock for two weeks or more, the rest of the flock doesn't recognize her when you put her back in, but that may actually be more related to the reshuffling and resettling of the pecking order.

    I'm interested to hear what happens when you return.
     
  3. Mum

    Mum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are two seperate issues here: 1 is that he is imprinted on *you*; the other is, you want him to be imprinted with *you*.

    Like most animals, what we think of as love, attachment, whatever, the animal is attached to survival first and foremost. By that I mean, I know I love my chooks and I know they regard me highly but only *because* I am their main carer; "cupboard love" if you like.

    Think of it another way: if they had long term memory/attachment, none of us would ever be able to re-home them and make them our own. By that same token, once you are home and back into your normal routine, any dis-association he may have built up can quickly be reversed into an association with you ;)

    Either way, time, patience, routine will all make it right once again. Just remember: *you* are the one with human emotions; your chooks are the ones with chook instinct/survival/routine/cupboard love ;)

    Yeah, they worm their way into our hearts; I don't believe we worm our way into theirs. Their primary concern isn't affection, it's survival and the person who feeds/waters/cares for them simply represents "survival". Just my take on things.
     
  4. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valid points. I am not saying I want him to love me-- he is a chicken, I don't believe he has any sort of emotional attachment to me...his being imprinted on me has actually caused me quite a few problems, entertaining though they may be. What I am saying is that I am curious what the effect of imprinting will be on this situation...and that, given that he has a history of attacking other people, I may not be able to keep him upon my return if I become just another threatening person to attack. I have no need for a rooster, but have enjoyed keeping him more for entertainment value thus far. There is no question that he is imprinted on me...I am not putting any emotional attachment on that from a chicken's perspective.
     
  5. Mum

    Mum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think he will remember you ;) Even if he does not (in the beginning) he will get back to being used to you.

    They are creatures of habit. If he should attack you on your return, my gut says he will soon get to know your ways. If he doesn't - chicken stew is your answer ;)
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have a few hand raised birds that were imprinted on me. They were also trained to come to me when their individual names were called. They will always be less wary of me but the coming to me when called must be periodically reinforced, otherwise they seem to need retraining inorder for them to come to me. They do retrain much faster than what it takes to trained similar sized adults to produce same response.

    Birds in question are not called during winter months but will be retrained shortly to come when called in spring. First few times each round birds are hesitant.
     
  7. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Centrarchid, that is very interesting. My little roo does come running to me when I make certain noises, but I have never really thought of the possibility of training a chicken to come when its name is called. Perhaps that will be the next thing I can try with him....if he accepts me back into his flock when I finally get back home:)
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Really does depend. I can't say my birds run to me for anything other than being conditioned to come for treats, but when I go home every 8 weeks or so, the older ones which I was able to spend more time with will come running when they see my car, and my mom complains they poop all over close to the house when I am back. LOL

    That said, take a hen out for a few weeks, the rest of the flock will vie for pecking order as if she was a stranger.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Mine have been trained to respond to names such as Sallie, Eduardo, Spud, Tippy and Speach. Last summer some kids at a feild day event experimented with variations on Speach's name. He would not come when names of Sallie, Eduardo or Spud were called out but he would come to "teach", "peach" , "reach" and "each".
     
  10. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It really is interesting to think about. My imprinted rooster definitely recognizes my truck, as he gets very worked up and starts crowing and pacing back and forth in front of the door of his coop when my truck pulls in the drive. If I let him and the girls out to free-range, then try to sneak upstairs, he usually walks (or, awkwardly hops) up the 2 flights of stairs to my apartment ( I live up above a maintenance shop on a farm, so its not as weird as it sounds!) and crows until I open the door-- he used to stand in front of the window and jump up and down. I fed him when he was a chick (he hatched from an egg in my bathroom after his mom was stepped on by a horse when he first started to pip), but I rarely give him treats as he does not eat much and prefers finding his own bugs and etc. Usually when he finds a treat, he does not even eat it anyway-- he tries to give it to either me or his 2 hens. I guess my point is that imprinting is definitely different than just conditioning, so I guess it will be interesting to see what happens when I get back...will let you know (or I will be looking for advice on a good soup recipe)
     

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