Chicken Sense

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Porterfive, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Porterfive

    Porterfive Songster

    Sep 12, 2007
    Collinsville, MS
    Does anyone have any information or links to info about the senses in chickens?

    How good/bad is their smell? eyesight? hearing? feeling?

    Are they telepathic ROFL [​IMG]

    You get the picture...???

  2. Wolfpacker

    Wolfpacker Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    I can only reply based on personal experience.

    They must be able to see VERY well as they can find the smallest little things in a bed of shavings or grass and can also see a hawk flying hundreds of feet above them in the sky.

    They must have a high threshold for pain. One of mine had her wing nearly ripped off and acted completely normal. There are many other examples of their resilliancy on these threads.

    Can't imagine they have that great of a sense of smell or taste based on some of the things they eat, such as roaches, which give off a horrible odor.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2007
  3. TundraChick

    TundraChick Songster

    Aug 6, 2007
    West Viriginia
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    How good/bad is their smell?
    I've know alot of chickens that smell pretty bad... none of mine, of course!
    How is their sense of smell? Pretty good, second only to their - -

    Keen. Very keen. They see you long before you see them.


    Keen. Very keen. They hear a grub fart with no trouble.

    You mean touch? Good in their feet, not so hot in the rest of them.

    Are they telepathic ROFL ?

    Chickens are prey animals, stealth and flight being their primary defense. Sight and hearing predominate in such creatures all across the animal kingdom. You gotta see, hear or smell your enemy first, or else! Smell is thus counted third, behind hearing and eyesight, especially in birds. It doesn't really matter if they can smell a butterscotch at half a mile, after all.
    Touch is the least developed and is thought to mostly assist in finding food among the leaves and ground cover of forest and field.

    Make no mistake, chickens are higher order creatures. They are highly developed organisms, with senses matched to their needs. Sorry, I cant provide scientific numbers for this stuff... I never thought they were important until now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2007
  5. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Ya, daytime eyesight and hearing are their best senses. Like most birds, their senses of smell and taste are probably less acute than ours.
  6. Windy Ridge

    Windy Ridge Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    I think birds can feel pretty well, even beyond their feet:

    Birds including chickens experience pain and suffering the same as humans and other mammals. Like mammals, chickens and other birds have nociceptors-pain receptors. Behavioral evidence supports neurophysiological evidence of chickens' ability to suffer pain, fear, and other forms of distress. In "Pain in Birds," Michael Gentle writes: "Comparing pain in birds with mammals, it is clear that, with regard to the anatomical, physiological, and behavioural parameters measured, there are no major differences and therefore the ethical considerations normally afforded to mammals should be extended to birds" (Gentle, 1992, 235).

    In "Behavioural and Physiological Responses to Pain in the Chicken," Michael Gentle concludes: "The close similarity between birds and mammals in their physiological and behavioural response to painful stimuli argues for a common sensory and emotional experience." Chickens' beaks and skin are full of pain-sensitive nerves. Debeaking and feather-pulling cause pain which has been characterized both behaviorally and physiologically in chickens. To those who ask whether the combs of roosters and hens can feel pain the answer is yes. In comb pinch tests, for example, chickens show "active avoidance behaviour . . . and vigorous escape attempts involving jumping, wing flapping and occasionally calling."

    Gentle, Michael. "Behavioural and Physiological Responses to Pain in the Chicken." Symposium 34: Pain and Stress in Birds. Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Ornithological Congress Trust Board, 1991.


    Gentle, Michael. "Pain in Birds." Animal Welfare. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Vol. 1, 1992

    I think the fact that they can take a horrible-looking wound and act as if it doesn't bother them simply has to do with the fact that they are prey animals. As most of us know, almost EVERYTHING loves the taste of chicken. If they act as if they are hurt (or sick), they might be the first to get attacked. Actually, many birds are like this. They may be quite ill before they exhibit symptoms, but we can't conclude from that that they don't feel pain.
  7. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Quote:This is true for prey animals in general. They need to keep up the pretense that they are as strong as the rest of the group, or they will be singled out by a predator. It is the same reason why herd animals will try to keep up with the others even if they are lame.
  8. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    I forgot to add that the comb and wattles are EXTREMELY sensitive. I once had a hen get a mild case of frost nip, and it was obvious that it was causing her pain - lots of scratching her head, weird posturing, gentle crying, etc.
  9. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    Telepathic? Probably more so than my husband. [​IMG]

    Birds are more intellegent than we give them credit. I believe they understand our language to some degree. There is an African Grey Parrot that has shown his owner (psychologist & researcher) that he understands how to combine individual letters together into words and that his understanding is such that he can do this independently (without prompting) to communicate his desires. Now, I do believe parrots are particularly intellegent birds, with an obvious ability to vocalize our language, but I think this also means that domesticated birds are probably more aware of our language than they have conventionally been given credit.

    I don't own chickens, but I know that my ducks respond to their names. They also know what it means to "fly" and "go to bed" and "go to the pen."
  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    I wouldn't say that birds are dullards, just as I wouldn't suggest that we'll see emergent space technologies come from the chicken yard any time soon. What chickens are is adaptive, able to learn and repeat what they've learned. Their survival has depended on this for, well, ever. Does this make them intelligent? Not in my book, since I avoid making comparisons to what are considered human attributes.

    As higher order creatures, there is little doubt that they have well developed nervous systems, though. Even a little learning in physiology will prove that. Pain? I'm certain they feel it... even slugs withdraw from the flame. I wouldn't suggest that they didn't feel physical pain.

    But these aren't in the direction of this discussion. What I WOULD propose is that their senses of sight, hearing and smell are highly developed, especially in ways that matter to their survival.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2007

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