How smart are chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by THeINK, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. THeINK

    THeINK Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2009
    Our flock gets to "free range" most of the day, and lately I've noticed some of them have really black poop it looks like charcoal and water. So my question is how smart are chickens? Do their instincts tell them they shouldn't be eating certain things?

    We have a fire pit with some burnt wood in it I saw one hen peck at it the other day not sure if she ate any or was just curious...and if she ate burnt wood how bad if at all would it be?

    Another example is, our flock is made of mostly bantams(about 4 months old), I was feeding them some corn off the cobb the other day and my dad(city guy) says i should smash the kernels first because they're probably too big for them.

    They eat the kernels whole? are they going to get constipated cuz they just eat whatever? or are they very aware of the size of the kernels and just delighted to have some(they go crazy for corn, they like it even better than oatmeal!)
  2. cw

    cw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    i dont know how smart they are i know when you start to think they may be pretty sharp they seem to disapoint me, any way i dump the ashes from my charcoal grill were they dust bath and they seem to peck at the chunks of whatever it is in there
    though free range birds do seem smarter
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  3. vicky

    vicky Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    I don't think charcoal will be that bad for them... unless they're eating heaps and heaps of it.

    Isn't charcoal given when you accidentally take certain poisons....?
  4. dixiechick

    dixiechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I believe that chickens instinctively know what they need to eat and how much of it they need to eat. I have purebred show quality birds and the seminars I attend say even with those birds, they recommend to let them free range to get "what they need" that is not in their feed. This would make them much healthier birds. Since I have started doing that, they ARE. So, I wouldn't worry. Mother Nature takes care of them...
  5. edb

    edb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Vicky is correct, in mil. survival training they tell us if we start feeling sick to eat the black burned wood(charcoal). It absorbs any poisons in you stomach. And it taste very bad.
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I wouldn't worry about the birds eating whole kernels of corn. That is what their gizzard is for, breaking up (chewing). Chickens don't chew their feed they just swallow it and the gizzard does the chewing. They do need grit for their gizzards to efficiently chew their feed.
  7. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2009
    Mine have yet to solve the rubics cube I tossed to them.

    I keep thinking about chickens if they were wild what would they eat.

    My friend recently went to Hawaii and I guess a bunch of chickens were freed during a storm and are now feral and free ranging free living everywhere.

    Lisa said they all looked healthy and ate everything they could - like pigeons in NYC.

    I think they are pretty hearty but obviously would not have access to cracked corn and other things they are fed. I wonder as corn is generally used as a filler in most feeds - if they actually need corn or do their bodies process it. I know low poop dog food has no corn. I understand chickens are not mammals but I am just curious about it.

    Jax FL:cool:
  8. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
  9. detali

    detali Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2009
    Chickens are fussy eaters. I had planted some fava beans this winter as a green manure crop. Then I let my chickens out into that plot when they were about a foot high. I wanted them to graze it down and add their droppings to the patch to fertilize it. Those dang birds wouldn't touch the stuff. They only trampled it, that's all. But they eat all kinds of other stuff. So don't worry too much.
  10. jessejames

    jessejames Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2009
    forest ontario canada
    low poop dog food ??

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