Do chicken have emotions?

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by cogs55, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. cogs55

    cogs55 Hatching

    Jul 31, 2014
    When we bought our 6 chicks this past April I knew little to nothing about raising them. I thought we would get them, feed them, get some eggs in a couple of months then we would butcher them before we left for our annual two week holiday. I teased my wife not to name them unless it was "Pot Pie' or 'Fried" or 'Parmesan". Well, here we are the last day of July and I am still waiting for eggs, they are all named by my wife or my granddaughter, and I am looking for someone to chicken sit while we are gone. We had 3 New Hampshire Reds & 3 Sex Links. the 1st to get a name was a Sex Link that was early on the 'Alpha' hen we called her Penny next to get named was a red we thought might be a rooster who got the name Randy since she is not a rooster I guess it is Randi!

    Before we got the chicks I bought a prefab coop that was supposed to be for 6-8 hens, I dug a foot deep trench and put hardware cloth down to prevent predators from getting them. I then bought a 8'x 6' x 4' kennel so they could have some extra room during the day, I put chicken wire over the top to keep the hawks out. A couple of weeks ago I would let them out to run around the yard while we were home to keep an eye on them. Sometimes they would be a pain to get back in the coop from the pen, usually Penney or Randi would have to be picked up and put inside last.

    I didn't think I could get attached to a chicken but I got hooked I would pull clover up to hand feed them, give them carrot or radish greens from my garden and some peas and beans, the favorite treat is strawberry and watermelon pieces. When they were loose they would come running, led by Penny when ever my wife came out back. Penny took to following Judi around like a dog. Penny was definitely the most vocal and the boss of our little flock. Well today we were going out to look a the coop to see where Judi thought something was trying to dig into it, but only 5 chickens came to look for a hand out, Penny was laying dead in the corner of the day pen. I went in to take her out and it looked like she had broken her neck not sure if she had flown into the top of the pen or had her head through the fence & gotten knocked over by one of the other chickens.

    Needless to say my wife was devastated and I was a lot sadder than I would have thought, but the weirdest thing was tonight when I went to put the chickens into the coop they went in pretty quick but they seemed like they were looking for Penny they were noticeably quieter and one was making a sad noise like they knew something was wrong. I didn't think chickens were capable of emotion but I don't know now. I guess I will have to get used to loosing a chicken once in a while but I hope not...
  2. Gatsbysmum

    Gatsbysmum Chirping

    Jul 27, 2014
    All animals have emotion, including chickens, silly as it may seem. They will get over it eventually, but yes, they will mourn and be confused.
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    Yes, chickens to have emotions. I have the photos to prove it:

    Angry Broody

    I'm busy...

    I'm the tough broad in this flock.

    Begging pose


    I'm too sexy for my wattles. Check out the hen: she's not impressed.

    Can you tell who is the dominant hen and submissive hen?

    OMG! I'm so excited! I laid an egg! I laid an EGG! Note her wide open eyes and how her wattles are drawn together.

    Just call me Mr. Sexy

    Submissive rooster with dominant hen. Look how he avoids direct eye contact with her direct gaze.

    Chickens do feel emotion as dictated by their evolution. What we see as a joyous dance of wing flapping is actually a display of 'I'm bigger than you'. They do form friendships with each other but remember friends within a large flock comes in handy when you are the lowest ranking member in the flock. You can hide behind your higher ranked friend and snatch a morsel of food. In return your friend gets to eat when the rest of the flock chases you from the food. Chickens do miss members of their flock. They recognize each other and know when one is missing. Flock dynamics change dramatically and you will see uncertain behavior when a member has died.

    Sorry for your loss.
  4. rica7

    rica7 In the Brooder

    Nov 7, 2014
    it doesnt sound silly its VERY true people say no animals do but of course they all do!

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