Is sense of smell strong?


Mar 18, 2018
I know this has been debated on the past-but how strong is a chickens sense of smell? And does it even matter?
Heres the situation. I recently bought a fixer up acreage. I was so excited! It even had large coop buildings that were built a little strange and had pea gravel bottoms but were great. They had been empty for a year or so. I asked realtor about the buildings but she didnt know anything. They would be perfect for my new chickens with adjustments. Later, I was talking to a new neighbor and asked about the coops. This gentleman informed me these buildings had been used to raise something else---hawks and falcolns. So here we are to my question- will my girls ever sense the prey birds were there? Is there anything else I should worry about? I plan on cleaning the coops- but how spotless can you really get them? They look pretty clean other than the gravel and occasional feather and chicken bone. Thank you!!
I don't know about chickens sense of smell really however, if you clean up the coops the chickens should be fine in my opinion. They tend to get super excited about new things after the first few minutes if hesitation, that even if they could smell anything they should be ok. They have great eyesight so they would be able to see nothing scary is in there with them
I read a study somewhere that said chickens have the same sense of smell humans do, though free-ranging flocks develop theirs a little more than we do, and factory farm chickens develop theirs less. I don't think you have to worry about the smell of hawks frightening them.
Thank you so much. I thought it would be fine, but I didnt know if it was because I wanted it to work and convinced myself it would be ok. I will tear two of them down and keep one for my girls with modifications. They really are nice buildings.
It's alot easier to use existing structures, we just moved into a house with a huge barn and converted to a coop using the stalls. It's worked great so far.:thumbsup
Hello! I'm actually a falconer as well as a chicken keeper and have done the same thing. The chickens were perfectly happy going into repurposed aviaries and didn't show any signs of being any the wiser as to the identity of the former occupant. If the aviaries have been empty for as long as you say then I wouldn't think that you'd have much to worry about in terms of disease transmission. I would give the pea gravel floor a good rake for a few days just to make sure.
Thank you Tomtastic. That really answers my question. I couldnt imagine sensing a predator but not be able to see it. It would be so stressful! You also eliminated any concern I had over disease transmission. I know my girls will love their new, roomy home after a little renovation. Do you think I should keep the pea gravel or get rid of it?
Glad I could help! I removed the gravel from mine and went for deep litter woodshavings. It's very damp where I live and I found that it was hard to keep the smell down with gravel. A flock of hens produces a whole lot more mess than one hawk or falcon!

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