Chickens do understand some words. I use "no" when they are trying to come into my house or into the chick pen. The word alone without corresponding action doesn't do much. It does seem to help when I am also nudging them to go where I want them. However, I've never seen them respond to the word "no" all on its own.
On the other hand, they respond immediately to "come here, or come on" which tells me chickens are more responsive to positive action words. Chickens are easily trained using treat rewards as positive reinforcement. I clicker trained my young chicks in just a couple days, and they materialize as if by magic when I use the clicker.
People vastly underestimate the value of training chickens. It's really quite easy.
There's nothing like The sound of a shaker can of scratch. They'll come from the far ends of the Earth. I've never had a chicken stop when I told them no no get out of my hostas.
But if you're dealing with babies, you have to teach them the positive stuff. Not hard to do when you're dealing with treats, but be ready for the squirrely teenagers. They won't listen to a darn thing.
Ah thank you all! I had a good laugh and that's all wonderful info! I was able to associate treats with a sound I make so they come FLYING to me when I make that sound. I can see that being really helpful. I'm amazed at the fact that some will respond to their name! So cool! I was hoping to have then understand "no" like dogs do so that they would stop picking on the littlest one. My heart aches when I hear one really pick on her. I get that it's normal for them to do that, but the little one has been so submissive (freezes and crouches down) that I cant help but want to ease the problem.