Chicken superstitions and myths


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
Jun 28, 2011
I was talking to someone about superstitions the other day and we found that there are quite a few chicken related ones. Here are some:

- To eat chicken feet makes one beautiful.
- Go behind the door and eat a chicken foot, to become beautiful.
- To become beautiful, eat chicken gizzards.
- To become beautiful, swallow a chicken gizzard whole.
- To swallow a raw chicken-heart brings good luck.
- It brings good luck to have a ten-toed chicken......................................Blue Grass
- Hens will not lay in a field where there are potatoes.
- If you set hens in the afternoon, you will have bad luck ..............................Mountains
- If a hen is set after the sun goes down, all the eggs will hatch...................Central Kentucky
- It is well to set an odd number of eggs.
- If you carry eggs for setting to the nest in a bucket, they will all hatch roosters. If you carry the eggs to the nest in a basket, they will all hatch pullets ...........................Western Kentucky
- If you place the eggs under a sitting hen with the left hand, they will hatch hens; with the right hand, roosters............................Blue Grass
- If you set a hen on thirteen eggs, she will not hatch so well as on another number.. Western Kentucky
- If after the chickens begin to hatch, you put the shells up higher than the chickens can jump, the hawks will not catch the chickens......Mountains
- To keep an old hen from sitting, put her head under her wing and dip her into a tub of water three times. She will not sit again..........Central Kentucky
- If a chicken is hatched in the spring, it will lay only every second day. If it is hatched in the fall, it will lay every day...................Mountains
- Chickens hatched in June are said to sleep all the time.
- It is unlucky to bring in or take out eggs after dark.
- String eggshells on the twigs of trees to keep the hawks away .......................Mountains
- Bake eggshells and feed them to chickens to make them lay...................Southern Kentucky
- It causes bad luck to find a soft-shelled egg.
- You can avert the bad luck that a soft-shelled egg brings by throwing it over the house.
- The general cackling of hens is a prophecy of bad luck...............................Blue Grass
- A "bullrock," also called a "jackrock" (a small round rock), in the ashes keeps hawks away from chickens.
- A round rock in the fire will cause a hawk's claws to draw up to that shape, so that it cannot catch chickens.

Please add any that you know off that isn't on the list!
I love these! There are so many. The breed of chicken I'm working with now, ayam cemanis, are considered to be magical in their home country, particularly if they are all black. They're used in rituals and ceremonies. It's so much fun to research chicken myths :)
@Pyxis I'm not surprised the Cemani is popular with myths and rituals, they sure are unusual looking. I finally got to see one in the flesh a few weeks ago. Beautiful bird!
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They really are stunning in person! I'm going to have to dig up a Smithsonian magazine I have somewhere around here that's main story was "How the chicken conquered the world". There was a neat chicken myth in it and I can't remember it well enough to type it up from memory. But I do remember the myths about sexing chicks!

  • Rounded eggs hatch into pullets. Narrow, pointy eggs hatch into cockerels.
  • Tie a weight to the end of a string and hold it over a chick. If the string moves in circles, the chick is a pullet. If it moves back and forth, it is a cockerel.
Those ACs are beautiful, so striking.

Chicken superstitions are fun, what people consider good luck / bad luck is interesting (and pretty much conflicting).

Here are some excerpts from "Mexico Superstitions – The Rooster" by Judy King

Misa del Gallo (Mass of the Rooster ) in Mexico – it’s the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass (now held at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. in Lakeside villages). There are two old legends linking the rooster to Christmas Eve.
The first says that when the Christ Child was born, the rooster on the roof of the stable crowed to announce the birth to the other animals.
The other, which was an old tale when Shakespeare recorded it in Hamlet, says that the rooster crows all through the the night on Christmas Eve and well into Christmas morning to keep the evil spirits from spoiling the holy time.
Another possibility is that associating the rooster with Christmas (most Mexican nativity scenes include a rooster figure on the roof of the stable) is a symbolic foretelling of denial of Peter – who claimed no association with Christ three times before the cock crowed.

Roosters are Good Luck – Roosters are Bad Luck
In Mexican (and Spanish) culture, there are a number of superstitions regarding the rooster – and there’s good news and bad about the type of luck the rooster brings.
A black rooster is an omen of death, associated with pagan sacrifice.
A rooster crowing at sunset foretells bad weather.
If the cock crows inside the house he foretells a victory.
Never kill a white rooster, they’ll bring you good luck.

Roosters are associated with the sun and protectors of humankind.
When you walk under roosting chickens, if the hen lets loose and soils you, it’s very back luck; if it was the rooster that got you, it’s an indication that great luck is coming your way.
From book of Kentucky Superstitions dealing with crowing roosters / hens. by Daniel Lindsey Thomas, Lucy Blayney Thomas.

3558. If a cock crows before the door early in the day, a visitor will arrive.
3559. If a rooster looks in at the door and crows, someone will leave the family
3560. If a rooster looks out of the door, someone is coming into the family.
3561. If a rooster crows before breakfast, someone will come before supper.
3562. If a rooster crows before breakfast, you will have visitors before you sleep.
3563. A cock's crowing in the front door brings a guest.
3564. If a rooster crows while looking in at the door, expect a stranger the next day.
3565. Someone is coming if a rooster crows. He will come from the direction in which the rooster's tail points.
3566. If a rooster crows in the kitchen, a tramp is coming.
3567. If a cock crows before your door, there will be a death in the neighborhood.
3568. If a rooster crows three times in the door, a death will follow.
3569. If a rooster crows on a fence with his head turned toward the house, welcome guests will arrive..
3570. If a rooster crows on a fence with his head turned away from the house, unwelcome guests may be expected .
3571. When a rooster crows with his head turned toward the door, there will he an increase in the family
3572. When a rooster crows with his head from the door, there will he a decrease in the family.
3575. If a rooster crows in the back-yard, a man will come.
3576. A cock's crowing in the back door brings a servant visitor.
3577. If a rooster jumps upon a fence and crows, someone is coming.
3578. When a rooster crows at night, expect company the next day.
3583. If a rooster crows before ten o'clock at night, bad news may be expected.
3584. When a rooster crows at noon, hasty news in the neighborhood may be expected.
3585. If a rooster crows at a certain time in the night, you will hear hurried news.
3586. If a rooster crows about dusk, you will hear unexpected news.
3587. It is a sign of bad luck when a rooster goes crowing to roost.
3588. If a cock crows on the roost, someone in the family will die.
3589. If the cocks crow on the roost, you will hear bad news of some one of your relatives.
3590. If a rooster begins to crow about nine o'clock at night, it will turn cold.
3591. If a rooster crows before midnight, there will be a fire.
3592. A rooster's crowing at night, except at Christmas time, is a sign of bad luck.
3593. There will be bad luck in the family if a rooster crows on the steps on Sunday, unless he is killed at once .

3597. When a hen crows in the door, someone in the family will die.
3598. A crowing hen must be put to death; otherwise death in the family or other bad luck will follow.
3580. If two hens fight, expect two women. If one hen is dark and the other light, one woman will wear dark and the other light clothes.
3581. If two hens fight in the door, two women are coming.
3582. If two old hens are fighting, two old women are coming soon.
3579. If two roosters fight, a man is coming.
  • Rounded eggs hatch into pullets. Narrow, pointy eggs hatch into cockerels.
My MIL swore by this. Only set rounded eggs, until she hatched 6 cockerels and 1 hen in a batch. Of course she blamed the hen! lol

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