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How do chickens recognize people and other chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RL, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. RL

    RL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2009
    Oak Point, TX
    This is just something I was thinking about the other day when I was watching my 5 month old SLW cockerel Skunky.

    My brother stopped by and we went out into the yard. I went in first and Skunky, as he always does, comes running up to me to see what I might have. Then he saw my brother. He immediately when into defensive mode and then did his wing drop, sideways shuffle, hop up round house kung fu leg attack. I got in between them and Skunky would try and get around me to get to my brother. Skunky has turned out to be quite cocky and aggressive toward anything or anyone unknown. He is very good to the girls and I know he will protect them so I will keep him around for awhile unless he gets too bad.

    Now on to what I was thinking about. How do chickens recognize people and other chickens? Is it by sight, smell, sound, body shape or some kind of chicken radar? I can walk out into the yard and they all know it is me, anyone else walks out into the yard and they immediately know it’s someone new or at least not me. I don’t wear the same clothes or the same color so that changes from day to day. I wash with different soaps so I know I can smell different at times and they still know it’s me. People can walk out to the yard in the same color and style of cloths as me and not make a sound; they will still know which person is me. Just something I was thinking about.
     
  2. Katy_didnot

    Katy_didnot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a fascinating question! I know that birds don't generally have a very good sense of smell. The Audubon society will tell you that if a baby bird falls out of the nest, you CAN put it back and the mother won't smell you on the baby and reject it as some people think. That said, I don't know the answer either.
     
  3. Casey3043

    Casey3043 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I asked this same question in a post about a week ago---see "How do chickens know each other?"

    Remember "March of the Penguins", where each bird knew its mate and chick among 100,000 others?

    I have concluded that chickens, like all birds, have very keen eyesight and they can pick out subtle differences in each other that we just can't see. They also hear very well, and know our voices and the sounds of their flock-mates.

    Fascinating, aren't they? I could pull up a chair and watch them all day---except they've pooped on all my chairs.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    PS. Chicken radar----what a concept!
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  4. RL

    RL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was thinking it might be by sight. I know when I am digging in the yard they can spot a small worm in the dirt very quickly even before the dirt leaves the shovel. Yes they are very fascinating critters and more intelligent than most people credit them with.

    I think if I remember correctly the Penguins used sound more than anything else to find each other. I know chickens will use sound to find each other as well. Just listen to one that gets separated from the others. But I think you are correct about them recognizing people by site.
     
  5. forestkingvizslas

    forestkingvizslas Out Of The Brooder

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    I have wondered this too...My chickens are able to differentiate between dogs they know and dogs they don't...They do not mind my dogs at all, they walk right through the yard. However, if we have people over with thier dogs, even the same breed, that look very much alike (Vizslas) they take off. I always wondered how they knew the difference from afar...
     
  6. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I know MY rooster recognizes my shoes. He will challenge anyone who goes in there except me. Well, my boots were leaking last spring so i got new coop boots.
    The first time i wore them out there, he went right after them. So its been a while and he is pretty much used to them, but still thinks about it.
    I can tell the way he watches my feet, like he is still not convinced that i am safe [​IMG]
     
  7. chickendude

    chickendude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also believe it is mostly determined on their sight. It was just last night that we had my nephew over. It was his first time seeing our chickens. My son walked down to their run and as usual they all came running to the run door looking for a treat. Well my nephew was about a minute behind my son. As he got to the run all chickens ran to the back of the run. They were not sure if he was friend or foe. So I believe they mostly use vision as their recognition process.
     
  8. RL

    RL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Skunky has only gone after me twice. Once when I had teats and I guess he figured I was not giving it out fast enough and the other time was when all I can figure was he was just in a bad mood for some reason.

    He has attack a few other times, but he was going after what I had in my hand and not really at me. He hates my cell phone. He will get very upset stomp around and make a Wooooo sound if I have my cell phone in hand. I wonder if the Cell phone is making some kind of noise that only chickens can hear and it bothers him. Strange critters them Chickens are.
     
  9. welovechickens

    welovechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens must either be really dumb, or they just don't care about strangers.....they come running, no matter who comes into the yard, and they'll bug my friends as much as they bug me! [​IMG]
     
  10. chickendude

    chickendude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you with your friends when they see your chooks? If you are they may feel that you are the boss and wouldn't let any harm come their way.
     

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