Do Chickens Love??

PoultryQueen29

Songster
8 Years
Sep 26, 2011
716
22
144
North Carolina
So I go out at night to check on the little stinkers and the front door to the coop is WIDE OPEN! The first thing that went through my head was something busted the door open and the chickens had been taken and eaten or else escaped and are somewhere in the woods. I was having a meltdown because it was 20 degrees outside and thought they would have already died of cold even if they weren't eaten. I didn't even want to look in the coop so I went inside to tell my dad (aka Mr. Fix it) who had been fixing the electric to the coop earlier that the door was open. He said "oh crap" and ran outside because he had left the door open while working with the light cable. To my suprise I saw Pumpkin, my dominant EE pullet, huddled up in the nest box and found 2 others next to her. Now I was missing my black silkie, Luna. I looked everywhere for her and I couldn't find her! I knew she would be hard to see at night because she is black but then I saw a fuzzy black lump next to the feeder in the coop making soft peeping noises. Before I heard her peeping I thought she was dead because she wasn't moving at all. I poked her and she still didn't move but made a little sleepy peep. I turned on the light and made sure they were all fine and dad was so relieved because if they Got hurt, he would have be guilty for the rest of his life! I'm just so happy that they didnt leave me even though they probably only love me for the food


My question after all of this is why didn't they leave? Can they learn to love their owners and home? Or were they just to scared? When I open the coop door to check on them, Sandy, my polish/silkie mix, always tries to jump out or walk out on my arm.
 
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Wolftalk

Songster
8 Years
Aug 1, 2011
418
73
101
The Coop :)
I have no idea! My chickens are to dumb. But i dont think there is a scientific answer to that. I think that love is what we make it out to be. If you think your chickens love you than they do!!!
 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,523
583
327
California, central valley
I don't know about whether or not they actually "love" BUT, chickens definitely know where home/food/safety is and tend to stick around.

As for my own chickens, I would not say that they love me at all but they certainly know me and are comfortable with me handling and caring for them versus the ruckus they raise when someone else tries to do the same!
 

ninabeast

Songster
8 Years
Apr 10, 2011
775
14
121
Upstate New York
A question I ask all the time. They definitely know what's good for them and have a strong sense of self preservation. But there are some things I can't explain. Such as, why do four or five of my ten hens compete for my lap when I sit by the open coop door? I know I'm their rooster. Is that it? And while I understand that the back scratching I give them is all they know of mating, why do three of them love to be scrubbed all over, under the wings, up the neck? And why does Pip press the top of her head into my chest when I give her a scrubbing?

I don't know. Feels like love. But only from a few of them.
 

dsqard

Crazy "L" Farms
9 Years
Jun 11, 2010
5,390
844
361
York PA
My chickens love. They love corn, BOSS, food, picking in the horse manure, apples, grasshoppers and picking through the hay
(sorry couldn't resist
)
 

humpbacks1962

Songster
12 Years
Jun 20, 2007
199
5
131
Middletown, CT
I suppose the rational answer could only be told by a chicken. I prefer to think of the bonding with the caretaker as a special emotion from them.
Chances are your girls didn't leave because they know where they are safe, where the water and food is. Their preservation instinct kicks in, and some are too cautious to venture into the unknown
 

GardenGal

Songster
8 Years
Mar 11, 2011
1,421
32
153
Western WA
I agree that chickens stay where they're safe. I also think chickens are fully capable of affection. Our big RIR was beat up by a hen who no longer lives here, and she got pretty attached to us. When I crouch down in the run she comes over and grooms my clothes and talks to me. I'd call that love
 

Wile E.

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 6, 2011
61
2
31
South Cryogenica
No, chickens don't love. Chickens are about as smart as a 60 watt light bulb. When it is burned out. You can love your chickens, but if you died in the chicken coop they would eat you. Animals are not people and even dogs and cats that seem to know whats up don't see the world the way we do.

As for why they stayed in the coop; where would they go? At night they roost, and they usually roost in the same place. Did you think because you left the door open they were going to go bar hopping? Chickens roost at night. If you had gone there during the day they probably wouldn't have been there. And not because they don't love you, but because they have things to do in the daylight.
 

humpbacks1962

Songster
12 Years
Jun 20, 2007
199
5
131
Middletown, CT
Wile E. :

No, chickens don't love. Chickens are about as smart as a 60 watt light bulb. When it is burned out. You can love your chickens, but if you died in the chicken coop they would eat you. Animals are not people and even dogs and cats that seem to know whats up don't see the world the way we do.

As for why they stayed in the coop; where would they go? At night they roost, and they usually roost in the same place. Did you think because you left the door open they were going to go bar hopping? Chickens roost at night. If you had gone there during the day they probably wouldn't have been there. And not because they don't love you, but because they have things to do in the daylight.

They could still love and eat you!


They do not show socialization like elephants who seem to "mourn" their dead and beluga whales who will stick together when one in the pod is trapped somewhere during low tide. But in their own primitive way, they may very well feel a sense of what we'd call affection. Who are we to say they do, or do not? Bonding is not unusual among most birds, after all​
 

Kittyf

Songster
8 Years
Jan 3, 2012
188
18
101
Sunny Southern California
They might not love like humans, but I am sure they love like chickens. It doesn't take smarts to feel. As long as you love them like a human, they will love you in the way only chickens can, inscrutable, unknowable, and with lots of scratching.

Kate
 
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